TOPEKA – The State Finance Council (SFC) today unanimously approved a total of $290 million for the public health, essential needs and services, and business resiliency and workforce development programs previously recommended by the Executive Committee of the Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas (SPARK) Taskforce.
“These funds will provide child supervision for parents with school-age children to ensure they can keep working, reduce evictions, and provide tools to help slow the spread of COVID-19,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “I commend the SPARK taskforce and the State Finance Council, who crafted and approved these recommendations that will strongly support Kansans’ health and keep our state on the path economic recovery.”
Recognizing the constantly evolving health and economic needs created by the pandemic, the recommendations do not allocate all the funds immediately. Rather, the Office of Recovery will monitor demand for the funds from approved programs and submit additional allocations to the State Finance Council for approval. Each program requires a minimum be invested in an area of emphasis, which include COVID-19 testing, housing stability, and remote learning centers for school-age children. If those areas of emphasis do not require more funding, the remaining dollars in the reserve fund can be allocated to previous programs approved by the SFC in round 2.
“It was important to the SPARK taskforce to ensure there was flexibility and to not overcommit funds too early and be unable to respond should needs shift again this fall,” SPARK Chairman Lyle Butler said. “I want to thank SFC for sharing this concern and supporting a dynamic approach that will serve Kansas well.”
The $290 million approved today is for the third and final round of funding of the Coronavirus Relief Fund, which is part of the federal CARES Act. Previously, SFC approved $400 million to Kansas counties (round 1) and $314 million for statewide priorities of public health, education, economic development, and connectivity (round 2).
“I want to thank both SPARK and the State Finance Council for providing the flexibility to deliver timely investments and ability to respond to shifting needs,” Recovery Office Executive Director Julie Lorenz said. “With flexibility comes an even greater need for transparency and accountability for how these funds are utilized and we remain committed to reporting our progress to SPARK, SFC, and Kansans so they can see how their tax dollars are being spent.”
Below is a breakdown of the minimum investment requirements and allocations approved for each program.
|Public Health||Essential Needs & Services||Business Resiliency & Workforce Support|
|Minimum investment required for emphasis area||$52.7 M COVID-19 testing||$35M Housing Stability||$40M Child Supervision|
|Allocations||$10M KDEM/FEMA Match
$10M PPE for Adult Homes
|$30M Continuity of Ops.
|$5M HIRE Fund|
|Reserve Fund||$30.3 M||$25 M||$20M|