The American Rescue Plan Act provides nearly $122 billion in COVID-19 relief funding for K-12 education. That’s a lot of money considering that the FY2021 regular appropriation for K-12 programs is $42.6 billion.
Here’s what that means for charter schools:
How are American Rescue Plan funds being allocated to states for schools?
100% of the funds are allocated to states based on Title I shares. That means they use a mathematical formula to determine how much each state gest based on the number of children eligible for Title I support and the state per-pupil cost of education.
How are states using American Rescue Plan funds on education?
States can reserve up to 10% of American Rescue Plan funds to spend on:
Activities to address learning loss
Summer enrichment programs
After school programs
That means states must allocate at least 90% to local educational agencies (LEAs)—including charter school LEAs—based on Title I shares. Of that, 20% must be used for activities to address learning loss.
All of these expenditures must also address students’ social-emotional needs and the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on subgroups of students. The activities also must be evidence-based.
What can schools spend these funds on?
Schools can use the proposed funds to prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19. The America Rescue Plan funds are extremely flexible, but here are a few examples:
Sanitation and cleaning supplies
Mental health services and supports
Facility repairs and improvements, like HVAC upgrades or adding modular classrooms to abide by social distancing guidelines
Addressing learning loss
Instructional materials, curriculum, or professional development
Additional transportation costs
Additional pay for employees to address COVID-related challenges
Note: Capital expenses and transportation purchases must receive prior written approval from your state educational agency and the U.S. Department of Education.
If you work at a charter school, we recommend watching our webinar What Will the American Rescue Plan Act Mean for Your School? to help you plan, avoid potential pitfalls, and learn more about what’s next in relief funding.
Kim McCabe is the senior director of communications at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.