Implementing the American Rescue Plan
Topics: Advocacy and Legislation
American Rescue Plan (ARP) Principal Engagement Survey
In March 2021, the American Rescue Plan was signed into law. The funding package provides $122 billion in direct K-12 funding to help schools recover from the pandemic. To meet the requirements of the law, states and districts must engage stakeholders (including principals) to determine the needs of schools and how funds should be spent. Please complete the short survey below to help NAESP better understand how the stakeholder engagement process is going at the local level.
ARP Implementation: Stakeholder Engagement
NAESP is continuing to monitor the implementation of ARP funding. The law requires state education agencies (SEAs) and districts to meaningfully engage a wide swath of stakeholders, including principals, about how these funds should be allocated. The SEA and district use of funds planning requirements present a huge opportunity for the principal voice to be brought to the table.
To that end, NAESP is focusing advocacy efforts on ensuring principals are meaningfully consulted throughout this process. NAESP and NASSP recently convened a virtual meeting with Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona to discuss stakeholder engagement and the need for principals to have a say in how ARP funds are spent. Below is a timeline of important dates related to ARP implementation:
June 7, 2021: Due date for SEAs to submit their ARP State Plan to the U.S. Department of Education. As of this writing, 28 states had submitted their State Plan.
June 21, 2021: The date by which an SEA must make information available on its website about the numbers of schools in the state providing each mode of instruction, student enrollment data for each mode of instruction by all students and disaggregated by subgroup, and student attendance data.
Within 30 days of receiving ARP funds, districts must develop and make publicly available a Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan that includes health and safety strategies (e.g., physical distancing, quarantining, ventilation, testing, etc.) and how the district will ensure continuity of services, including services to address the students’ academic needs and student and staff social, emotional, mental health, and other needs.
Districts must update the Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan at least every six months through Sept. 30, 2023, and must seek public input on the plan and any revisions.
Within 90 days of receiving ARP funds, districts must submit to SEAs a plan describing how ARP funds will be used by the district to implement prevention and mitigation strategies, how the district will use the mandatory 20 percent set-aside to address learning loss, and how the district will use the remaining ARP funds consistent with statutory requirements.
On May 26, the U.S. Department of Education released an ARP FAQ document detailing uses of funds allowable with ARP dollars, as well as answers to other questions facing education leaders about the funds.
NAESP Joins New ARP Implementation Coalition
NAESP has joined a new coalition led by CCSSO aimed at coordinating the efforts of education organizations toward transformative goals.
FY22 Budget Release
On May 28, the Biden administration released its full FY 2022 budget. Some highlights:
- Department of Education: 41 percent increase to the Department of Education’s overall budget
- Title I: $16.5 billion for Title I, plus $20 billion for “Title I Equity Grants”
- IDEA Funding: $15.5 billion for IDEA, a $2.6 billion increase
School Mental Health Support: An additional $1 billion to increase the number of counselors, nurses, and mental health professionals in K-12 schools.
Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal So Far Elusive
Senate Republicans and the Biden administration are continuing infrastructure negotiations in hopes of reaching a bipartisan deal. While there is agreement on certain provisions of a $1 trillion package, the two sides have so far been unable to reach a compromise on the final scope of the bill and how the legislation would be financed. The education angle? A previous package released by the administration—the American Jobs Plan—included $100 billion for school infrastructure. NAESP has been pushing for inclusion of school facilities in a final package, including leading a recent letter to congressional leaders signed by 17 K-12 national groups pressing the issue.
You can read a copy of the letter and an overview of the issue here.
Take Action!: Please contact your members of Congress & urge them to make school infrastructure a priority:
Remote Learning Funding
ARP included $7.2 billion increase to the E-Rate program—a key NAESP legislative priority—which will bolster funding to schools and libraries for the reasonable costs of laptop and tablet computers, Wi-Fi hotspots, routers, modems, and broadband Internet connections for use by students, school staff, and library. Funding is limited to students, school staff, and library patrons who would otherwise lack access to connected devices and broadband internet services sufficient to engage in remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Federal Communications Commission announced that the 45-day application filing window will run from June 29 to August 13, 2021.