At the end of August, the U.S. Department of Education approved Minnesota’s American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) plan and distributed the remaining ARP ESSER funds to them. Minnesota’s was the 33rd such plan to be approved, and like the others, it 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, including multilingual learners.
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. Minnesota is receiving $1.3 billion total in ARP ESSER funds, and this approval of their plan will result in the release of the final $441 million. Last week, the department approved plans for Alaska, Connecticut, Illinois, and Louisiana. Minnesota’s approval means a total of 33 ARP ESSER state plans have been approved since June. The department has approved plans supporting more than 50% of students nationwide.
“I am excited to announce approval for Minnesota’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 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.”
“As students head back to school in person this fall, we must have the protocols and resources in place to support safe learning,” said Senator Amy Klobuchar. “The distribution of this funding will help that effort by providing key services to address learning loss and protect the health and safety of students and educators as we continue fighting this pandemic.”
The Minnesota Department of Education will award ARP ESSER funds to districts and charters to address the academic impact of lost instructional time. Districts and charters will be required to select and implement evidence-based practices focused on the needs of historically underserved students, including those who have missed the most in-person instruction and who did not consistently participate in remote instruction. Funds will be made available for summer learning and enrichment programs to community organizations, with an emphasis on community-based organizations that have experience working with student populations that were disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including students from low-income families; Hispanic or Latino, American Indian, Asian, and Black students; English learners; students with disabilities; migratory students; students in foster care; and neglected, delinquent, and incarcerated students.
A total of 46 states and the District of Columbia have submitted their ARP ESSER state plans. The department also is in contact with states that have not yet submitted plans, the vast majority of which delays are due to state board of education or legislative review requirements.