The United States Department of Education announced the approval of Pennsylvania’s American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) plan and distributed remaining ARP ESSER funds to them.
The plan details the use of ARP ESSER funds to safely reopen and keep the safe operation of schools and expand opportunities for students who need it most, particularly those most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As published by the U.S. Department of Education website, earlier this year, two-thirds of the ARP ESSER funds were distributed totaling $81 billion, to 50 states and the District of Columbia. The remaining third of the funding to states will be available once state plans are approved.
Pennsylvania is receiving $5 billion total in ARP ESSER funds, and the approval of the rescue plan will result in the release of the final $1.6 billion. Additionally, the department approved plans for Hawaii, Montana, New Hampshire, and New York. These approvals mean a total of 22 ARP ESSER state plans have been approved since June.
Development of schools
The U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, expressed his optimism for the approval of the rescue plan and highlighted its importance for the development of schools and communities. “I am excited to announce the approval of Pennsylvania’s plan. It is heartening to see, reflected in these state plans, the ways in which states are thinking deeply about how to use American Rescue Plan funds to continue to provide critical support to schools and communities, particularly as we move into the summer and look ahead to the upcoming academic year.”
The ARP ESSER state plans approved by the Department, including Pennsylvania, show how states are using federal pandemic resources to support safe in-person instruction and meet the social, emotional, mental health, and academic needs of students, with a focus on the students most impacted by the pandemic.
“Students, educators, and our communities urgently need the funding from the American Rescue Plan in order to address learning loss and difficulties created by the pandemic,” said Rep. Susan Wild. “I’m glad to see the Department of Education approve Pennsylvania’s plan to use this funding so we can get kids back on track as quickly and safely as possible.”