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Missouri has millions more dollars of federal aid coming to it to support K-12 schools, colleges, universities and child care.

Missouri's Republican Sen. Roy Blunt is chairman of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies.

Blunt's office announced Tuesday that Missouri will receive "an additional $54.6 million in funding to help K-12 schools and institutions of higher education respond to coronavirus-related needs."

That funding comes from the Governor's Emergency Education Relief Fund, included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act.

The emergency education relief fund provides funding directly to state governors, "allowing them to prioritize and quickly distribute aid where it is needed most," according to a news release from Blunt's office.

That money is in addition to other previously announced CARES Act funding for education in Missouri.

The Missouri Legislature had budgeted $300 million for K-12 schools and $200 million for higher education — all from the CARES Act — into the supplemental budget the state's lawmakers passed last week to get the state through the remaining months of the 2020 fiscal year.

Gov. Mike Parson signed the supplemental budget Friday.

Parson said Tuesday the advisory group led by State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick working to determine how best to spend federal pandemic aid would work with the state's Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and schools to figure out what needs are.

Blunt last week said the U.S. Department of Education had allocated $206 million in funding for Missouri colleges, universities and trade schools through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund in the CARES Act, with half of the $206 million to be "immediately available for schools to make emergency cash grants to students to cover expenses like course materials, food, housing and health care."

The other half would be "allocated to schools in the coming weeks to offset other general expenses related to COVID-19, such as distance learning costs."

Blunt had announced Monday that Missouri would receive $208 million for K-12 education needs related to the pandemic through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund in the CARES Act.

Blunt's office also announced Tuesday that Missouri is receiving $66.5 million in Child Care and Development Block Grant funding through the CARES Act.

"Everyone who is working to support their communities through the coronavirus pandemic — from health care workers to grocery store employees and first responders to public utility workers — deserves the peace of mind that their kids are well cared for while they're on the job," Blunt said in a news release.

"This funding will support those families, as well as help child care providers, who are just as essential, stay afloat with temporary closures and decreased enrollment because of coronavirus," he added.

The CARES Act provided a total of $3.5 billion in Child Care and Development Block grants to states for "immediate assistance to child care providers to prevent them from going out of business and to otherwise support child care for families, including for health care workers, first responders and others playing critical roles during this crisis," according to the news release.

The Missouri Legislature had budgeted $20 million of federal funds for child care into the supplemental budget passed last week.

That $20 million to support child care providers and otherwise support child care for families — especially health care workers, first responders and others playing critical roles during the pandemic — also came from Child Care and Development Block Grant funding, and it passes through the Missouri Department of Social Services.

The state supplemental budget line for the funding, as passed, added that the money could also be used for "the general administration of the programs, including development and implementation of automated systems to enhance time, attendance reporting, contract compliance and payment accuracy, and to support the Education Program."

"What we're really looking at is how do we expand child care across the state," Parson said Tuesday — and as with schools, the state is still in the process of figuring out how exactly to do that.

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