About The Brief series: Periodically, LEE compiles briefs on key legislation or events for LEE members at the forefront of making change for kids and communities.
Provisions of the The American Rescue Plan (ARPA) present a once-in-a-generation opportunity to infuse necessary resources into local school districts—making investments that were long overdue even before the pandemic. Overall LEAs can expect approximately 2.2 times as much as they received from the January stimulus.
In March, The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), was a $1.9 trillion stimulus package passed by Congress and signed into law by President Biden. It will infuse $129 billion into state K-12 education. Approximately $123 billion of this funding is for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER), “to remain available through September 30, 2023.”
The ARPA mandates that states:
- Use the first $800 million of ESSER funds for educational and wraparound services to unhoused students;
- Use at least 5% to address learning loss;
- Use at least 1% to implement summer enrichment programs;
- Use at least 1% to implement comprehensive afterschool programs;
- Allocate funds no later than 60 days after receipt.
Local school districts will receive approximately 90% of those funds based on their relative share of Title I funding. The ARPA also provides $7.2 billion for the E-Rate program, which will improve connectivity for students and educators. The bill orders the FCC to share regulatory steps for schools to make purchases “during a COVID–19 emergency period of eligible equipment or advanced telecommunications and information services.”
This is a tremendous opportunity for LEE members to advance an equity agenda in local school districts. Recently, LEE member-led organizing alliance Baltimoreans for Educational Equity hosted a conversation on school funding with a focus on the ARPA during their Movement Assembly on April 20th. (Recap video will be posted on their Facebook page soon!)
In the coming weeks, LEE will be sharing more ways to engage and advance this important conversation with policy makers through member convenings.
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Celeste Perilla is the Director of Regional Impact in Maryland at Leadership for Educational Equity. A graduate of Baltimore Public Schools, her work centers around building community capacity, emphasizing leadership development, and community organizing to positively impact educational experiences in and around Maryland.