CA Dept. of Education Releases EANS Program Reference Application; Portal To Submit Application Opens April 12, 2021

CATEGORY: Special Bulletins
CLIENT TYPE: Private Education
PUBLICATION: LCW Special Bulletin
DATE: Apr 01, 2021

On March 31, 2021, the California Department of Education (“CDE”) released a reference version of the Emergency Assistance to Non-Public Schools Program Application (“EANS Application”) for the EANS funds authorized by the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (“CRRSA Act”).

For more information about EANS funding, see the December 28, 2020 LCW Special Bulletin, New COVID-19 Relief Legislation and its Impact on Private Schools and Other Nonprofit Organizations, and the March 18, 2021 LCW Special Bulletin, American Rescue Plan Act: What Private Schools Need To Know.

The CDE did not provide the reference version of the EANS Application for schools to complete and submit to the CDE.  Instead, schools may use the reference version of the EANS Application to prepare for their submission of the online EANS Application, which schools must complete and submit through Snap Survey.

The link to complete the EANS Application through the Snap Survey opens on April 12, 2021 and remains open through April 26, 2021 at 5:00 pm.  The CDE will not review any EANS Application received after 5:00 pm on April 26, 2021.  The CDE will review timely applications from April 27, 2021 through May 12, 2021, and will notify applicants of application status, award amount, and program requirements on or before May 12, 2021.  If an application is deemed ineligible or not approved for funding, schools may request an appeal within 10 calendar days following receipt of the letter of denial in a writing sent to EANS@cde.ca.gov.

The CDE is also hosting two webinars to provide information about the EANS application process, eligibility requirements, and funding methodology.  The access information for the webinars, which will be held on April 5, 2021 from 10:30 am to 12:00 pm and on April 7, 2021 from 10:30 to 12:00 pm, is located on the CDE EANS website, and pre-registration for the webinar is not required.

The CDE also released a Frequently Asked Questions for Emergency Assistance to Non-Public Schools (“FAQs”) reference document with additional information about EANS funding.  The FAQs provides information on a number of topics, including eligibility to receive EANS funds and allowable uses for EANS funds.  Notably, the FAQs makes clear that a private school whose students and teachers receive services or assistance under the EANS program is not a “recipient of Federal financial assistance” by virtue of the receipt of EANS services or assistance.  Therefore, Federal laws applicable to recipients of Federal financial assistance would not apply to a non-public school whose students and teachers receive services or assistance under the EANS program, unless the non-public school accepts other funds that do make the school a “recipient of Federal financial assistance.”

The reference version of the EANS Application is a 14-page document that makes clear that EANS funding is prioritized for schools that serve low-income students and are most impacted by COVID-19.  Schools will be required to select one of five data sources to verify their service to low-income students.  These data sources include:

(1) Students who receive or are eligible to receive free or reduced price meals through the National School Lunch Program (“NSLP”);

(2) Proportionality data calculated as the number of students enrolled in the school who reside in a Title I school attendance area multiplied by the percentage of public school students in that same attendance area who are from low-income families;

(3) Student low income counts submitted for 2019–20 Title 1 Equitable Services as reported in the Consolidated Application and Reporting System;

(4) Scholarship or financial assistance data, limited to students who are from families at or below 185 percent of the federal poverty level; or

(5) E-Rate Data: an alternative method that allows schools to collect and determine low income counts without participating in the NSLP.

Schools are not required to provide this information with the EANS Application, but are required to retain the records for a period of five years to verify compliance in the case of an audit review of the data.  Schools are also required to disclose whether they received a loan guaranteed under the Paycheck Protection Program before December 27, 2020, and to indicate or explain how COVID-19 has impacted the school.

The EANS Application indicates that the CDE will release funding to a school to reimburse the school for certain COVID-19 related expenditures incurred retroactively to March 13, 2020, through September 30, 2023.  These expenditures, which are given priority funding, fall into two categories, including:

Category 1: Expenditures That Support Immediate Need:

    • Supplies to sanitize, disinfect, and clean school facilities.
    • Personal protective equipment (PPE).
    • Portable air purification systems.
    • Physical barriers to facilitate social distancing.
    • Other materials, supplies or equipment recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the reopening and operation of school facilities to effectively maintain health and safety.
    • Expanding capacity to administer coronavirus testing to effectively monitor and suppress the virus and to conduct surveillance and contact tracing activities, and to support other activities related to coronavirus testing for students, teachers, and staff.

Category 2: Durable Goods/Ongoing Services:

    • Educational technology (including hardware, software, connectivity, assistive technology, and adaptive equipment) to support remote or hybrid learning.
    • Leasing sites or spaces to ensure social distancing.
    • Reasonable transportation costs.

For Category 2 items, federal law requires that the CDE gain title to the materials, equipment, and property for which the school receives reimbursement during the term of the award, with limited exceptions.  The EANS Application also provides a third category of items for which schools cannot receive reimbursement, but for which schools may receive through a contract for services initiated by the CDE subject to state public contracting laws and rules.  These items include:

Category 3: Contracted Services:

    • Improvements to ventilation systems (including windows), except for portable air purification systems, which may be reimbursed.
    • Staff training and professional development on sanitization, the use of PPE, and minimizing the spread of COVID-19.
    • Redeveloping instructional plans, including curriculum development, for remote or hybrid learning or to address learning loss.
    • Initiating and maintaining education and support services or assistance for remote or hybrid learning or to address learning loss.

Schools should note that all services or assistance provided under the EANS program must be secular, neutral, and non-ideological.

Schools must also submit a Quarterly Expense Report to the CDE in order to receive reimbursement for Category 1 and 2 items.  The reporting due dates are as follows:

Quarter Reporting Period Report Due Date
1 March 13, 2020 – June 30, 2021 July 31, 2021
2 July 1, 2021 – August 15, 2021 August 31, 2021