Raul Ruiz

09/08/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/08/2021 19:07

Ruiz Announces Nearly $250 Million in American Rescue Plan Funds Delivered to Local Schools

Palm Desert, CA - Today, Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D. (CA-36) announced schools in the 36thDistrict of California received nearly $250 million under the American Rescue Plan's Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund. As students and educators begin their school year amid rising COVID-19 case levels, this funding is critical in helping school districts in California to stay open safely, make up for lost time in the classroom, and ensure students receive the supportive services they need to succeed.

The American Rescue Plan made the largest one-time investment in K-12 education in the nation's history.

'I am thrilled to have helped deliver nearly $250 million in federal funding for our local school districts through the American Rescue Plan,' said Dr. Ruiz. 'After a year of remote learning, this historic investment in our children's education is helping our local students get safely back in the classroom and make up for lost classroom time. Because of the American Rescue Plan, our schools have the resources they need to reopen safely, and parents can have the peace of mind that their children can learn and grow in a healthy and safe environment.'

'The ESSER Funds provided to our school district have been instrumental in providing support to our students and staff as we navigate the 2021-22 school year,' said Dr. David Pyle, superintendent of San Jacinto Unified School District. 'We have used the funds to hire an additional 17 teachers (Impact Teachers!) who provide direct literacy support to our students working below grade level. Additionally, we will be providing identified students with an additional 12 days of instruction (Saturdays), hosted by credentialed teachers currently employed in our district. We have increased the number of counselors at our school sites, focusing primarily on Social and Emotional Learning support (SEL). We have added additional portable classrooms to many of our sites and have purchased literally thousands of Chromebooks, Hotspots, and PPE for our students and staff. We have made it a priority to spend our ESSER Funds on one-time purchases, while avoiding using the funds for ongoing expenses.'

'Palm Springs Unified School District is extremely fortunate to be receiving over $72.2 million through the ESSER grant that is coming at a time when our students are in critical need of additional assistance due to lost instructional time and social and emotional health supports as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,' said Supt. of Schools for Palm Springs Unified School District Dr. Mike Swize. 'We are currently reaching out to our staff members, students, parents and community stakeholders asking for their input as we prepare our plan for making the best use of these funds to address these most pressing issues and meet our students' needs during these very challenging times. We are grateful to Congressman Ruiz for his continued support of our local students and for the portion of the American Rescue Plan that is providing school districts with this much-needed funding.'

'Palo Verde Unified School District appreciates the additional funding provided to school districts through the American Rescue Plan (ARP),' said Superintendent Tracie Kern of Palo Verde Unified School District. 'The funding allows PVUSD to support the necessary staff, equipment, materials and supplies to implement complex public health safety measures to reduce and prevent COVID-19 on campus. ARP also provides much needed revenue for PVUSD to increase staffing and services for students to help them with their learning and allows for educational continuity. In addition, ARP allows PVUSD to reduce class sizes and provide summer school for multiple years for our students. We appreciate our partnership with Congressman Raul Ruiz and his continued advocacy for the needs of Blythe and our school district.'

'Beyond meeting the challenges of the current pandemic, the ESSER III funds will give us the chance to make critical investments in staff, infrastructure, technology, and equipment that will impact generations of students,' said Superintendent Christi Barrett of Hemet Unified School District.

'ESSER funds proved critical in our mission to return students and staff safely to the in-person learning environment,' said Desert Sands Unified School District Superintendent Scott Bailey.

Background:

School districts may use this funding through the American Rescue Plan to improve the health and safety of their classrooms, such as upgrading ventilation systems, purchasing masks, and taking other science-based steps recommended by public health officials.

School districts may also use funds to hire social workers and mental health counselors to support students' social, emotional, and mental health needs. In addition, school districts are required to spend at least 20 percent of the funding they receive to help make up for lost time in the classroom, which may include extending the school day, creating afterschool programs, and bolstering summer learning or summer enrichment programs to help students cope with the impact of the pandemic.

The $250 million in ESSER funding is in addition to the $1 million in Head Start funding that Riverside County schools received through the American Rescue Plan.

To highlight how this historic funding is benefitting students, teachers, and families in the 36th District, Ruiz visited Andrew Jackson Elementary at Desert Sands Unified School District.

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