Safety, 股本, and Effort: What ARPA 资金 Means for School Districts

School districts that accept funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) are required to agree to keep 学生 safe and maintain equity and fiscal effort. 作为父母, 学生, and educators have begun another school year during this ongoing pandemic, it is imperative that Texas and our school districts keep their promise of reopening schools with the safety of Texan 学生 at the forefront of their agenda. Schools should also think carefully about how to ensure they are taking the right steps toward equitably expanding opportunities for 学生 who have experienced trauma and loss of instructional time during this pandemic.

德州有资格获得12美元以上的补贴.4 billion dollars in American Rescue Plan funding. 大部分资金(约90%或10美元).9 billion) was distributed to school districts based on how much Title I funding school districts received. The remaining funds went to education agencies to address interrupted learning for underserved 学生 (5%), 暑期充实计划(1%), 课外项目(1%), and to cover administrative costs associated with responding to the pandemic (3%). There is also separate additional funding for services for children who are experiencing homelessness, 宽带互联网及设备, 头开始项目, 和更多的. 

School districts have until October 2024 to spend their allocated funding and are not allowed to supplant other funding for schools or reduce staffing in high-poverty schools. If staffing is reduced at a high-poverty school, the amount cannot exceed the total number of staff reductions within the school district. 到目前为止, states have used their funds to assist with the return to in-person schooling, 暑期学习项目, and the expansion of after-school programs.

After over a year of unpredictability and instability, 学生 need holistic support this upcoming school year. Some 学生 have lost loved ones and guardians, spent several months away from friends and family members, 因为不确定而感到恐惧. The dual pandemics of COVID-19 and systemic racism mean Black and brown 学生 are also dealing with the burden of racism and political trauma. 为所有学生服务, our school districts and schools must be dedicated to implementing and maintaining effective practices with ARPA funding. 

Suggestions and best practices for use of ARPA funding include:

  • Establish safety protocols and precautions. Keeping 学生 safe should be the number one priority of school leaders. Schools can supply personal protective equipment for 学生 and staff, 实施接触者追踪, and improve building ventilation — like HVAC upgrades. Although there are ongoing debates around mask mandates, schools must ensure that student safety is at the forefront of their agenda. When there are outbreaks due to the neglect of safety precautions, 学生 miss valuable classroom instruction.
  • Expand programming and/or create new programs. 开始, 或扩大, before- and after-school programs and tutoring programs to provide additional academic support to 学生.
  • Support 学生 who are experiencing homelessness. Ensure that schools are offering resources to 学生 who are experiencing homelessness and that all staff have a clear understanding of the services available to eligible 学生. It is important that school districts are mindful of discipline policies and virtual learning expectations for 学生 who are experiencing homelessness. 
  • Invest in health resources and Social-Emotional Learning (SEL). Students need access to health services and mental health professionals, 比如咨询师和社会工作者. After being out of school for over a year, social-emotional learning practices and resources will assist in increasing positive behaviors, 自我意识, 和学术成就. 
  • 关注种族平等政策. The realities and discussion of race are not going away. Our public schools consist of increasingly 更多的 Black and brown 学生. Schools and communities must come together to discuss racial inequities to develop equity-based policies and practices centered around hiring procedures, 纪律实践, 课程, 和社区参与.  

365betAPP首页al leaders across Texas have the responsibility of keeping 学生 safe and maintaining effort and equity as 学生 are going back to school. ARPA funding for schools has the potential to ensure that all 学生 have the resources they need to thrive.