28 states reveal American Rescue education spending plans

State educational agencies must submit plans to receive the remaining one-third of ARP ESSER funds
By: | June 14, 2021
ARP-funded initiatives support the safe reopening of schools and aim to reverse underlying inequities faced by students who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID.ARP-funded initiatives support the safe reopening of schools and aim to reverse underlying inequities faced by students who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID.

Some 28 states have submitted their American Rescue Plan ESSER state applications to meet a requirement set by the U.S. Education Department upon release of two-thirds of the funding in March, the agency announced Monday,

As a condition of receiving the March tranche of ARP ESSER funds, state educational agencies agreed that they would submit a state plan application in order to receive the remaining one-third of ARP ESSER funds.

ED on April 21 released a state application template for the ARP ESSER funds along with a proposed set of priorities for states in receipt of the funds and required state educational agencies to meet an application deadline of June 7 or notify ED of the “state requirements that preclude submission of the plan by that date (e.g., because of pre-existing State board approval requirements) and a date by which it will be able to submit its complete ARP ESSER plan.”

ED said ARP ESSER state plan applications have been submitted by Arkansas, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

“The Department is working closely with remaining states that did not submit by the deadline, the vast majority of which were due to state board of education or legislative review requirements,” ED officials said.

The final one-third of ARP ESSER funding will be made available upon ED approval of each state’s ARP ESSER state plan application. The department is still reviewing the submitted plans and will post final approved versions of state plans at a later date.

Peruse the plans: Review state ARP spending proposals

“We’re thrilled to see that states are directing the unprecedented resources from the American Rescue Plan toward addressing student needs and quickly and safely reopening our schools, so we can give every student the opportunity to learn full-time, in-person,” said Education Secretary Miguel Cardona in a statement.

“These state plans make clear that the American Rescue Plan is providing much-needed support to states and districts as they work to not only bring students back to in-person learning, but also to address inequities made worse by the pandemic and make sure every student has the social, emotional, and mental health support they need to create a strong foundation for academic success,” Cardona said.

Nearly 60% of K-8 schools were offering in-person instruction full-time in April, up from 46% in late January, according to the Institute of Education Sciences.

The ARP ESSER state plan application requires states to provide information about the following:

  • Current status, priorities, and needs of the SEA and how those considerations will guide ARP ESSER funding decisions.
  • How the SEA will support local educational agency efforts to safely reopen schools and sustain safe operations.
  • How the SEA will consult with stakeholders and the public, and how it will plan for and coordinate the use of ARP ESSER funds with other resources, including previous ESSER and GEER funding allocations, to meet student needs.
  • How the SEA will maximize the set-aside to address the impact of COVID-19 on underserved students and what evidence-based strategies the SEA will use to meet their needs.
  • How the SEA will support LEAs in developing high-quality plans to address student academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs, and addressing pre-existing opportunity gaps.
  • What strategies the SEA will employ to “support and stabilize the educator workforce,” and how it will make staffing decisions to support academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs.
  • How SEAs are building capacity to ensure high-quality data collection and reporting on the use of ARP ESSER funds at the state and local level.

Charles Hendrix covers education funding and other Title I issues for LRP Publications.