Nevada education gets boost from federal coronavirus funds

CARSON CITY — A state legislative committee Monday formally approved nearly $634 million in additional COVID-19 relief funds for Nevada, with nearly $509 million of it going to public and private schools across the state.

The balance, just less than $125 million, is targeted for statewide emergency rental assistance. Of the education funds, $477.3 million is general aid for K-12 public and charter schools and $31.4 million to school reopenings, technology, and addressing learning loss. The allocation includes $19.4 million for non-public schools.

The federal aid comes in the second round of federal pandemic assistance approved in December. The Legislature’s Interim Finance Committee approved acceptance and allocation of all the funds unanimously Monday.

“This is $477 million that goes into our state’s education system, and at a time when we need it the most,” Sen. Chris Brooks, D-Las Vegas, the committee chair, said as lawmakers approved the largest allocation. “And just how flexible the purposes that we can use it for are — I mean, this is just an incredibly helpful to us at a time when we need it so greatly.”

Of the $477 million, nearly $346 million, or 81 percent, will go Clark County schools, the state’s largest district. Washoe County schools, the second largest, will receive nearly $35 million, or 8 percent. The state Public Charter School Authority will receive the third largest allocation of $22 million, or 5 percent.

The rental assistance funds are for those who demonstrate financial need to pay rent or utilities stemming from the pandemic and comes in addition to monies received directly by housing agencies in Washoe and Clark counties. Clark County Social Services will receive $93.8 million of the new allocation, bringing its total to $162.7 million.

The Reno Housing Authority will receive $10 million, bringing its total to $24.3 million. The Nevada Rural Housing Authority will receive $14.8 million total.

With an additional $6.2 million allocated as contingency for additional costs, the total received by state housing entities directly or as a pass through from the state is $208 million.

Housing Division officials told lawmakers that the funds could help approximately 20,000 recipients.

Contact Capital Bureau reporter Bill Dentzer at [email protected] Follow @DentzerNews on Twitter.