The state task force in charge of statewide COVID-19 relief money has determined its final allocations for the remaining $290 million Wednesday.
The recommendations will only become final once the State Finance Council approves them this week or in the coming weeks.
In short, for current Round 3 funding, $35 million will go toward housing stability, $40 million will go toward child supervision and $52 million will be for statewide COVID-19 testing.
Of the testing money, $2 million will go to Veterans Affairs and corrections facilities, while the rest will be contingent upon a unified statewide testing strategy to test businesses, schools and the public in general.
The remaining money will be directed toward other priorities, such as a match to FEMA for the Kansas Division of Emergency Management, personal protective equipment for adult homes and reserve funding that could be used later if needed.
The money in the reserve funds, totaling about $78 million, could be put into filling gaps in the Round 2 or Round 3 priorities of relief funding. It was a main emphasis for many task force members.
"As we all know, this is changing very quickly, week to week, day to day, and I think there are a lot of people who felt — me included — that having some reserve funds and flexibility and to use those dollars for things that are already approved and not going out and doing something that’s completely different," said Lyle Butler, chair of the task force.
Many task force members brought up questions about previous priorities from Round 2 funding, with concerns that previous allocations weren’t enough.
For example, Bob North, chief counsel for the Kansas Department of Commerce, answered questions about small business grants. He said of the 5,900 applications for those grants, only about 1,500 of those can be funded.
"There will be significant amount of demand for additional funds if we were able to bring those to bear," he said.
Similar concerns were brought up for broadband funding, as well as big events spaces seeking more money.
Those reserve funds, if unused for Round 3 priorities, could be used for those demands if need be.
Some asked if money for child care could be used for marketing and communications to parents that all-day child supervision options were available. While the answer was no, Melissa Rooker of the Kansas Children’s Cabinet and Trust Fund assured them their communications channels will be enough and that school districts would also need to help refer parents to services.
Some had questions about money going to the Department of Labor and what it would be used for.
In short, it would be to support people stuck in the backlog of the unemployment benefits system, hire more temporary staff to keep up with any increased demand and shore up anti-fraud efforts, said acting Secretary of Labor Ryan Wright.