07/22/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 07/22/2021 06:29
Today, the U.S. Department of Education (Department) announced the approval of Georgia's American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) plan and distributed remaining ARP ESSER funds to them. Georgia's plan details how the state is using and plans to use ARP ESSER funds to safely reopen and sustain the safe operation of schools and equitably expand opportunity for students who need it most, particularly those most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier this year, the Department distributed two thirds of the ARP ESSER funds, totaling $81 billion, to 50 states and the District of Columbia. The remaining third of the funding to states will be made available once state plans are approved. Georgia is receiving $4.2 billion total in ARP ESSER funds, and today's approval of their plan will result in the release of the final $1.4 billion. Additionally, the Department approved plans for Delaware, Iowa, Kansas, and New Mexico. Earlier this month, the Department approved the plans for 11 other states and the District of Columbia.
'I am excited to announce approval of Georgia's plan,' said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. 'It is heartening to see, reflected in these state ;plans, the ways in which states are thinking deeply about how to use American Rescue Plan funds to continue to provide critical support to schools and communities, particularly as we move into the summer and look ahead to the upcoming academic year. The approval of these plans enables states to receive vital, additional American Rescue Plan funds to quickly and safely reopen schools for full-time, in-person learning; meet students' academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs; and address disparities in access to educational opportunity that were exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. The state plans that have been submitted to the Department lay the groundwork for the ways in which an unprecedented infusion of federal resources will be used to address the urgent needs of America's children and build back better.'
'In Georgia, we'll be using ARP funds to support student learning, address lost learning opportunities, ensure safe school environments, and expand resources and supports for student mental health and wellbeing,' State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. 'From deploying state-level Academic Recovery Specialists, to establishing school-based health clinics, to providing opportunity grants to fund access to CTAE, fine arts, world-language, dual enrollment, and more-we are focused on using our resources to directly support schools and students.'
'For countless Georgia students, providing access to a quality education means ensuring access to their highest ambitions-and I know how important that is, firsthand.' said Sen. Rev. Raphael Warnock. 'I am glad the Department of Education approved this plan that will better support Georgia's students and educators by investing in structural improvements to Georgia's school buildings and helping address learning loss among our students.'
'After a challenging year of learning for our students and our parents, it is important that we do all we can to invest in our children and their futures,' said Rep. Lucy McBath. 'Thanks to the hard work of the Biden Administration and my colleagues here in Georgia, this funding will provide vital resources for our schoolchildren, schoolteachers, and school districts. This is more funding to uplift our community, strengthen our schools, and create opportunities for our kids to grow and succeed.'
The ARP ESSER state plans approved by the Department today, including Georgia, show how states are using federal pandemic resources to support safe in-person instruction and meet the social, emotional, mental health, and academic needs of students-with a focus on the students most impacted by the pandemic. For example:
A total of 41 states and the District of Columbia have submitted their ARP ESSER state plans to the Department. The Department is reviewing the plans expeditiously and is in contact with states to ensure their plans meet all necessary requirements in order to access the remaining funds, as outlined in the ARP. The Department also is in contact with states that have not yet submitted plans, the vast majority of which are due to state board of education or legislative review requirements.
The distribution of ARP ESSER funds is part of the Department's broader effort to support students and districts as they work to reengage students impacted by the pandemic, address inequities exacerbated by COVID-19, and build our education system back better than before. In addition to providing $130 billion for K-12 education in the American Rescue Plan to support the safe reopening of K-12 schools and meet the needs of all students, the Biden-Harris Administration also has:
In addition to the actions the Biden Administration has taken to reopen schools, the President has proposed critical investments through his Build Back Better agenda that will enable schools to rebuild stronger than they were before the pandemic, such as investing billions to build a diverse educator workforce, expand access to pre-K to all families, and invest in school infrastructure, among other provisions.