North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper signed into law Thursday the allocation of $1.7 billion in federal COVID-19 relief funds for the state. The second spending bill for The Tar Heel state in 2021 and fourth since the start of the pandemic a year ago.
The most recent bill included $1.6 billion to help schools across the state reopen. The governor and legislature reached a deal earlier this week which Cooper is expected to sign into law in the coming days.
“While I will ask legislators to revisit some areas of this legislation, including changes necessary to quickly deliver rental assistance, these funds will bring needed relief for people who are struggling, schools and small businesses as we strive to emerge from this pandemic,” Cooper said.
According the the News & Observer, House Bill 196 distributes the $1.7 billion accordingly:
– $603 million for Coronavirus testing and tracing.
– $292 million for higher education emergency relief.
– $40 million for summer learning programs.
– $12 million to Voyager Sopris Learning, Inc. for a contract to help elementary reading and spelling teachers.
– $12 million for emergency food assistance.
– $10 million to schools for contract services for physical and mental health support to students because of COVID-19.
– $10 million for school nutrition services.
– $10 million for school cybersecurity assessment and a statewide cybersecurity program.
– $5 million for older North Carolinians’ congregate and home-delivered meals.
– $1 million for a study on the overall impacts of COVID-19 on public schools, students and families, including the transition to and from remote learning. The preliminary report is due in a year, then a final report in December 2022.
North Carolina can expect more money from the $1.9 Trillion stimulus package that Congress passed this week. The state also has a rainy day fund reportedly stashed with at least $4 billion due to sales tax revenue.