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By ADAM BEAM, Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California's public schools can tap into $6.6 billion of new state spending to return students to classrooms under a bill Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law Friday that has attracted bipartisan support and scorn in equal measure.

Newsom signed the bill via Zoom, mimicking how most of the state's 6.

1 million public school students have been learning for the past year. The irony was not lost on Newsom, who said the virtual ceremony was necessary to include other state officials who were scattered across the state.

Newsom signed the law as he faces a possible recall election later this year, fueled by anger over his handling of the pandemic. On Friday, Newsom said “now is the time to safely reopen,” highlighting the struggles he and lawmakers have had in negotiating a plan on the best way to do that.

“When you look at 58 counties, a thousand-plus school districts, this truly is a challenge at a scale no other state in the country is faced with,” Newsom said.

The law easily passed the state Legislature on Thursday with only four opposing votes. Yet many of the lawmakers who voted for it spent more time highlighting the law’s shortcomings than its strengths.

“It just doesn’t go far enough,” said Republican state Sen. Melissa Melendez. “My fear is that we’re not going to see kids going back to any type of real, valuable in-person instruction, until next year.”

While businesses have opened and closed through the ups and downs of the pandemic, many school boards have not been willing to return students to classrooms as they have struggled with the costs associated with public health standards and negotiations with teachers’ unions.

But as the rate of new coronavirus cases continues to fall and more people are getting vaccinated, politicians and parents have been pressuring districts to return to in-person learning before the end of the school year.

The new law is the state’s first attempt to do that on a statewide scale. It does not require school districts to return students to classrooms or force parents to send their kids back to schools if they don’t want to.

Instead, the law sets aside $2 billion for districts that offer in-person instruction by the end of March. Another $4.6 billion in spending goes to all districts to help students catch up on the material they have missed in the past year, but the law says districts must use at least 85% of that money on in-person learning.

“We’re going to go home to our districts and beg all of our districts to open up,” said Assemblyman Phil Ting, a Democrat from San Francisco.

To be eligible for the money, most districts will have to offer in-person learning for all elementary school grades. But the law does not require a return to classrooms for most middle and high school students. It also doesn't say how long students should be in a classroom each week, prompting fears some districts could return students for just one day per week and still be eligible for the money.

“It’s not the perfect answer, it’s also not the final answer, but it’s an answer that is going to let our kids learn and our teachers teach,” Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins said.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Four direct payments and relief checks worth up to $1,500 going out in September – do you qualify?

MILLIONS of Americans are in line to receive payments next month.

With no signs of a fourth stimulus check, states and cities have passed legislation for relief including tax holidays, direct payments, and other types of stimulus.

1Millions of Americans have been receiving inflation relief this past year

The cash will come in the form of rebates or direct payments as many states try to offset the financial impact of inflation.

The most recent inflation rate of 8.5% in the year to July was announced by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics on Wednesday.

The cost of shelter has risen 5.7% over the past year.

Food prices have increased by 8.5% during the year.

Read More on Direct PaymentsCASH OUT Important details for August & September as states give relief cash to millionsstim win Millions to get $200 in relief checks - exact date to check your account

However, there was some relief at the pump as gas prices started to fall.

According to AAA, the national price for an average gallon of gas stood at $4.01 as of August 10 – down about 67 cents from a month ago.

The following states will be issuing or receiving checks in September.

1. Colorado

The Colorado Cash Back program was made possible due to the state's Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR).

Most read in MoneyBUDGET SURPLUS Millions of Americans may get up to $1,000 in payments under $2billion potCASH CLAIM Americans can apply for $500 monthly direct payments in days – see exact datePOSH MONEY I make up to $9k a week - it started as shopping side hustle & you can do it toolotto luck I won lottery twice in 5 weeks - the strategy I used to boost my prize FIVE-FOLD

TABOR requires the state to return leftover state revenue.

Nearly every Colorado taxpayer will receive a check of either $750 or $1,500 for married couples.

You're eligible if the follow applies to you:

  • 18 years old as of December 31, 2021
  • Was a Colorado resident for all of 2021
  • File a 2021 Colorado state income tax return or apply for a Property Tax/Rent/Heat Credit (PTC) Rebate

Plus, those who filed a 2021 Colorado tax return but since moved out of the state in 2022, are still eligible.

If you filed your 2021 Colorado state income tax return by June 30, 2022, your check should arrive by September 30.

2. Illinois

The Illinois Family Relief Plan is yet another program offering relief to struggling Americans.

Single tax filers will collect $50 while joint filers will get $100.

However, families with dependents will get up to $300.

In order for single taxpayers to score the $50 rebate, they must not earn more than $200,000.

According to NBC Chicago, the payments will be sent from September 12 but may not arrive for a few weeks.

3. Minnesota

The Frontline Worker Payments bill was signed by Governor Tim Walz April 29 allocating $500million to those eligible.

The state estimated that about 667,000 Minnesotans would qualify for the bonus checks, each receiving $750.

Per Minnesota law, applications were open for 45 days from June 8 through July 22.

To be eligible workers must have been employed at least 120 hours in Minnesota in at least one frontline sector from March 15, 2020 and June 30, 2021.

This includes health care, long-term care, emergency responders, schools, retail, child care, and public transit.

Workers can expect payments in September.

4. Indiana

Residents in Indiana are set to receive tax rebates of up to $650.

Hoosiers were supposed to score their checks earlier in the month but paper shortages have delayed the process.

Emily Boesen, a spokesperson for the state auditor’s office, said checks can start going out as early as the week of August 15.

Ms Boesen told the Associated Press it will begin printing checks next week and up to 50,000 checks can be printed a day.

She estimates that all will be completed in early October.

Individual taxpayers will receive $325 checks, while married couples filing jointly will get $650 checks.

Some residents should start seeing their checks as early as September.

Other states offering relief

Hawaii residents will receive a one-time tax refund at the end of August or beginning of September.

Those making less than $100,000 annually will receive a $300 rebate.

If you make over that threshold but under $200,000, then you’ll receive $100.

Families with children may get more money, for example, a family of four could get $1,200.

Rhode Island residents are in line to receive direct payment worth up to $750.

Nearly 115,000 families will be able to receive the $250 child tax credit.

There is a maximum of three children, so the most a family could receive is $750.

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We round up six states paying out direct payments worth up to $1,700 this MONTH.

Plus, check the exact date more than one million Americans have until to claim up to $700 direct payment.

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