North Dakota school districts are receiving 30 million in Education Corps funding as part of the Cares Act. The purpose of this funding is for additional staffing needs caused by COVID-19 to provide support and services to K-12 students in North Dakota. Below is information about how the money has been allocated and how it may be spent.
Technology (hardware, software, infrastructure, and bandwidth)
Mental health support for staff and students
Professional development for COVID-19 response to better equip educators
Additional personnel related costs
Physical environmental improvements such as ventilations systems
Support for recruitment of employees
Q: Can the Corps funding be used retroactively?
The Education Corps funds can be used retroactively to the beginning of the new year. The timeframe to spend the funds is July 1, 2020, to December 30, 2020. Keep in mind, the Supplement Not Supplant provision applies. These funds are to hire additional personnel to address staffing needs due to COVID-19, individuals who would not have been included in a normal operating budget for the school year.
Q: Where can I find information regarding how much each district will receive?
The Corps funding allocation chart can be accessed on the COVID-19 funding page on the department’s website, under the Education Corps funding section.
Q: What are the allowable uses of the Corps funds?
The NDDPI has generated a potential uses of funds document, under the Education Corps funding section. This document is not exclusive, but will provide ideas on how the funds can be spent. The funds can only be spent on staff. When districts claim reimbursement, they will only be able to claim in line items 110, 120, 200, and 300.
Q. Do private schools receive Corps funding?
The Equitable Services provision does not apply to the Corps funding because they are not USED funds. These were dollars given to state legislatures. Therefore, there is no allocation for private schools.
Q. What does it mean to supplement not supplant?
The supplement not supplant provision requires recipients of federal funds to use the dollars to pay for additional services and not replace state or local funds. This provision does apply to the Corp funding. A guidance document is available on the department’s website, under the Education Corps funding section.
Q. What if districts can’t spend the funds by December 30, 2020?
These funds are part of the CARES Act and were given to NDDPI from an agency unable to spend them. K12 districts must meet the deadline given to the North Dakota legislature from the federal government for expenditure of all funds. Districts should spend what they can within the allowable timeframe.
Q. How do districts access these funds?
The district authorized representative will receive an email notifying them of the grant at which time they should log into WebGrants and sign the grant award, which is called a contract. Then once the funds are spent, districts will submit a reimbursement claim within WebGrants.
Q: Can districts use the Corps funding to contract with CDE for staff services?
Yes. The Corps funds can be used to contract with CDE and other entities if the contract is for staff services. The funds cannot be used to contract with an entity for curriculum or content that the district’s teachers would then use for instruction.
Q: Can the Corps funds be used to pay for temporary salaries charged to object code 130?
Yes; however, the WebGrants system does not have a line item for 130, so if the temporary staff were certified, then code to 110 and if they are noncertified, then code to 120.
Q: Is providing staff with a bonus an allowable use of the Corps funding?
No. Corps funding cannot be used to provide bonuses. Districts can use Corps funding to provide stipends for work that is above and beyond and there is evidence of deliverables.
Q: How can districts document deliverables?
Evidence of deliverables could include any plans, lessons, time spent developing different schedules due to hybrid or distance learning impacts, virtual presentations, or other additional work that individuals had to do because of the pandemic.
Q: Since these Corps dollars are federal funds, do districts need to follow the Time and Effort provisions that apply to the Federal Title funding?
No, the detailed time and effort provision required for the Title programs is not required with the Corps dollars because they are not USED funds. Districts do need to keep basic records on staff hired and duties performed.
Q: How do districts code and track these Corps funds?
Listed below is guidance for business managers on the coding for these funds:
Local Accounting Ledger/Object Codes: 110, 120, 200, 300
Project Expense Code: 105
Q: What is the timeframe to spend these funds?
A correction is being made from previous guidance. The timeframe is July 1, 2020 to December 30, 2020 (not December 31). These CARES Act funds expire on December 30, 2020, and therefore the deadline to expend them ends.