Monday, April 12, 2021

Federal Relief Bill Provides $37.7M to Local Schools

Nearly $40 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds is being distributed to area school districts it was announced Friday.

Topping the list is the Pottstown School District which will receive nearly $10 million ($9,741,181) in relief, according to the state's list of allocations to all 500 school districts.

Coming in a distant second is the Boyertown Area School District which will receive $4,983,358.

Here are the totals for the other area school districts:
  • Spring-Ford -- $4,355,676
  • Pottsgrove -- $3,670,939
  • Phoenixville -- $3,300,048
  • Daniel Boone -- $2,881,597
  • Owen J. Roberts -- $2,834,045
  • Upper Perkiomen -- $2,377,557
  • Perkiomen Valley -- $1,790,312
  • Methacton -- $1,737,960
All total, these local school districts now qualify for $37,672,673 in federal aid.

The funding derives from the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund passed last month by Congress and signed by President Biden.

Pennsylvania's share was anticipated to be about $4.9 billion to help Pre-K to 12 classrooms deal with the financial impacts of closed schools due to the pandemic.

Pennsylvania distributed the funds according to federal Title 1A awards distributed in 2020. Title 1A is the federal education funding stream providing additional aid to schools with high numbers or high percentages of children from low-income families.

"The school districts and charter schools must use at least 20 percent of this money to address learning loss and the social, emotional, and academic needs of underrepresented students, including students from low-income families, students with disabilities, English learners, migrant students, students experiencing homelessness, and children in foster care," according to a release issued by Gov. Wolf's office.

'Schools can use the rest of the funding for a wide range of activities, including food service; professional training; technology purchases; sanitization and cleaning supplies; summer and after-school programs; and mental health supports," according to the release.

Funds must be used by September 2024.

State Rep. Joe Ciresi, D-146th Dist.
"Our school communities need these additional resources to invest in instructional materials, equipment, facilities, transportation and more, and we are pleased to make these funds available to them,”  Department of Education Acting Secretary Noe Ortega said in the release. “These funds will provide more assistance to school communities as we continue to navigate the pandemic.”

“This is great news not just for students and teachers, but for the entire community,” said State Rep. Joe Ciresi, D-146th Dist. 

“To say life during the COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult – especially for parents and guardians of school-aged children whose routines were thrown into chaos – is the ultimate understatement," Ciresi said. 

"But this funding provides a significant boost to getting students and school faculty safely back on a familiar path, and addresses student learning loss and other educational needs that may have come up over the past year,” he said.

Combined with the commonwealth’s initiative to provide teachers, school staff and contractors the chance to get the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, this funding aims to help schools reopen and safely return students and teachers to classroom settings. 

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