The current climate of school funding is unrivaled by any we’ve seen in the recent past. District leaders will be faced with many critical funding decisions that could impact the long-term success of their schools and student achievement. With the announcements from the Department of Health and Human Services on the CDC’s providing $10 billion to states for COVID screening testing for K-12 teachers, staff, and students, as well as the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) $122 billion fund, it’s clear there is a major push to re-open our nation’s public, charter and private schools in a safe and efficient manner per guidelines. But with all of the potential investments for this new funding, what should administrators do? 

The pandemic has impacted nearly every aspect of our daily lives. It’s no secret that our education system has also been dramatically affected. Solving for declining student enrollment and increases in teacher attrition are at the forefront of the minds of school leaders. These additional funds to secure the sustainability and success of our nation’s schools are a huge opportunity for district and school leaders in education to make wise investment decisions. What should administrators prioritize to maximize the impact of their spending? While the exact verbiage is listed here, the consensus is the funds are usable on efforts that make our schools safe, while also addressing learning loss, mental health and SEL needs, furthering educational equity and support, as well as efforts to retain teachers and technology. This guide will help district and school leaders understand the allowances of the ARP funds, while giving insight for prioritizing spending options that will make the biggest impact now and create sustainable futures. 

“These funds from the American Rescue Plan and the extraordinary steps the Department is taking to get these resources to states quickly will allow schools to invest in mitigation strategies to get students back in the classroom and stay there, and address the many impacts this pandemic has had on students—especially those disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.”

Miguel Cardona , Secretary of Education

6 Ways to use ARP funds to address the many impacts of COVID on K-12 education:

“Student enrollment in today’s K-12 educational environment is more complex than ever before and has placed extant stresses on our schools and districts.”

Dr. B Dr. Christopher Balow, Chief Academic Officer at SchoolMint

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