The State Finance Council gave final approval on Thursday to distribute the remaining $290 million in statewide COVID-19 relief funding.
About $54 million of the third round of funding will be dedicated to statewide virus testing, which Kansas officials have said is one of their top priorities. An additional $30 million will be backed up as reserve funding if more money is needed for testing.
Currently, the state ranks among the the lowest in testing volume and has among the highest rates of new positives, according to John Hopkins University.
The testing plan hopes to test not only as much as possible but also turn around results as quickly as possible. Such quick results are needed to properly identify and contain spread, Kansas Department of Health and Environment Secretary Lee Norman previously said.
The strategy will be a unified approach from three testing centers. A private lab in Lenexa will focus on testing businesses, while Wichita State University is planning to churn out tests as well. KDHE will continue its own testing with a focus on the public health side, and testing for K-12 schools is planned.
Of the testing money, $2 million will go to Veterans Affairs and correctional facilities.
At the meeting, Rep. Ron Ryckman, R-Olathe, proposed taking $2.77 million from the testing reserve fund to give to private colleges for testing as well.
"I want independent colleges to have the opportunity to have testing reimbursed by the federal government through this process," he said.
In addition, Ryckman wanted the colleges to be eligible for future nonprofit support grants related to business resiliency and workforce support. His proposal was adopted.
For the other main priorities, $35 million will go toward housing stability and $40 million will go toward child supervision.
Some money will be distributed to agencies and other purposes, such as a match to FEMA for the Kansas Division of Emergency Management and personal protective equipment for adult homes.
About $75 million will be earmarked as reserve funding and could be used to fill gaps in the previous funding rounds’ priorities. But such funding, if it needs to be shifted, will have to come before the State Finance Council, Gov. Laura Kelly said at the meeting.