by Kathy Mickey
April 15, 2021
With the passage in March of a third COVID-19 relief bill, an unprecedented flow of money is coming to U.S. K-12 schools.
The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act includes $125.9 billion that will be sent to state education agencies for elementary and secondary funding. The ARPA also includes $350 billion in state and local government aid, which could forestall cuts at those levels to budget lines like education.
The latest round of funding will be allocated following the guidelines of earlier stimulus funding, with the bulk of money distributed along Title I funding formulas to direct money to the neediest districts. The Department of Education has promised to begin making funding available this month. States are expected to deliver grants to districts within 60 days of receipt.
Districts can spend their stimulus money over three years. The law requires districts to spend 20% of the funding to address students’ academic losses and social emotional needs.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, enacted in April 2020 as COVID-19 took hold in the U.S., provided $13.5 billion for elementary and secondary school stabilization. The $900 billion stimulus and government appropriations bill titled Consolidated Appropriations Act followed the CARES Act in December 2020. It provided $54.3 billion for K-12 schools.
Education technology providers are reminding school districts that federal stimulus dollars can be used for technology to support remote instruction and resources for struggling learners, as well as to clean and refit buildings.
For example, Boxlight launched a customer support page to help district and school administrators learn how funding can be tapped for education technology to address learning loss due to COVID-19 school closures and inequity of technology access for remote and hybrid learning. At the Boxlight website, administrators can get information on a variety of solutions, including teacher professional development, STEM-focused products, and tap grant funding expertise to help them navigate the intricacies of the funding.
Illuminate Education is offering a one-page infographic explaining what funds are available, how they can be used and how stimulus priorities align with Illuminate solutions. The alignment includes administering valid and reliable assessments, tracking student attendance and improving engagement and equitably addressing learning loss.
The website of McGraw Hill provides information and notes education technology and learning materials are eligible uses of funding. “If you have questions about how you can use these funds to meet your school district or university's digital learning needs, we are here to help!”
For more information about policy and funding at the federal and state levels, see PreK-12 Policy & Budget Outlook, 2021-2022.
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