School safety, county block grants and Head Start: How Pa. is spending that $2.6B in CARES Act Money | The Numbers Racket

By: - June 8, 2020 6:30 am

The Pennsylvania Capitol building (Capital-Star photo).

Giving some insight into the appropriations of the $2.6 billion in federal relief dollars from the CARES Act, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives shared this breakdown Monday. 

Here’s how the first half shakes out by state agency and department: 

Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD)

$150 million … appropriated to the School Safety and Security Fund.

  • The money will be used to purchase cleaning and sanitizing products that meet CDC and DOH criteria, training and professional development of staff on sanitation and minimizing the spread of infectious diseases, purchasing of equipment (including PPE, thermometers, infrared cameras and other necessary items), modification of existing areas to effectuate appropriate social distancing, providing mental health services and supports, purchasing educational technology for distance learning, and other health and safety programs, items or services necessary to address the COVID- 19 disaster emergency 

Department of Agriculture

$20 million … appropriated to the state food purchase program.

  • The money will be used to fund county-level grants and administrative costs for purchasing food to supplement other state and federal food assistance programs for Pennsylvanians who are at risk for hunger. 
  • Of that amount, $5 million is allocated to Pennsylvania Agricultural Surplus System 

$20 million ….  appropriated to the Dairy Assistance Program.

  • Funding will be used to pay the minimum payment of $1,500 to dairy farmers who have experienced a loss during the governor’s disaster declaration, as a result of the need to discard excess milk. Farmer assistance based on volume of discarded milk. 
  • Of that amount, $5 million is allocated to Pennsylvania Agricultural Surplus System 
    • The funds provide the commonwealth’s emergency food providers with resources to support Pennsylvania’s agricultural producers, aiding in their efforts to get even more locally-produced and sourced commodities into the hands of those in need 

Department of Community and Economic Development 

$625 million …  appropriated for the County Block Grant.

  • The funds will be used to offset direct county response/planning, municipality assistance, small business grants, nonprofit assistance, broadband internet.

$20 million … appropriated for the Cultural and Museum Preservation Grant Program

o Driven out through the CFA 

o Funding will be provided to general museum, children’s museum, history museum or historical site, military or maritime museum, accredited zoo, planetarium, science or technology center, orchestra, art museum, performing arts organizations.

$225 million … appropriated to Statewide Small Business Assistance

$50 million … appropriated to hazard pay. 

$10 million … appropriated to the Food Access Initiative. 


Department of Education 

$7 million … appropriated to Pre-K Counts Program. 

$2 million … appropriated to Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program.


Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education 

$30 million … appropriated to the State System of Higher Education. 

  • The funds will be used to help for the 14 universities with costs incurred as a result of the COVID-19 emergency. Those funds will be distributed based on fall 2019 headcount enrollment. 


Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency

$30 million … appropriated to the PHEAA State Grant Program.

$5 million … appropriated to Institutional Assistance Grants.

$5 million … appropriated to Higher Education for the Disadvantaged (Act 101 Program)

$2.2 million … appropriated to Student Loan Interest Forbearance Program. 

  • The Funds will be applied to PHEAA-held private loans for Pennsylvania borrowers not in default. Eligible borrowers will automatically be put into forbearance until Sept. 30, 2020. 

Next week we’ll dive into how CARES Act money is being appropriated by the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, The Department of Health, The Department of Human Services and the property tax relief fund. 

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Cassie Miller
Cassie Miller

A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry.