Gov. Tom Wolf is dedicating $2.2 billion in federal stimulus funds to Ok-12 college districts and constitution colleges affected by the COVID-19 pandemic to help meals packages, technological enhancements and different schooling companies.
“All colleges have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and I commend college communities for rising to the problem to fight the toll it has taken,” mentioned Wolf. “This further funding is crucial to assist colleges meet the distinctive wants of teaching college students at the moment whereas maintaining college buildings protected when college students return to the classroom.”
The federal reduction is supplied by the bipartisan Coronavirus Response and Reduction Supplemental Appropriations Act’s Elementary and Secondary Faculty Emergency Reduction (ESSER II) Fund handed by Congress in December.
“Extra, a lot wanted help is on its approach to Pennsylvania colleges,” mentioned Performing Secretary Noe Ortega throughout a telephone convention Friday. “These funds will present crucial help to highschool communities as they proceed to navigate COVID-19.”
PDE will administer 100% of ESSER II funding via the Federal Title I, Half A formulation, which considers the variety of low-income college students served by college districts and constitution colleges, in an effort to advertise fairness, effectivity, transparency, and native flexibility, Ortega mentioned.
Every college will obtain an quantity proportional to federal Title I, Half A funds obtained within the 2020 fiscal 12 months below the Each Scholar Succeeds Act (ESSA).
PDE has urged colleges to proceed to prioritize fairness and think about how investments can promote alternatives for weak college students and households, together with these dwelling in deep poverty, college students with disabilities, English learners, migrant college students, college students experiencing homelessness, and youngsters in foster care.
Faculty districts and constitution colleges could use ESSER funding for a spread of actions, together with meals service, skilled coaching, expertise purchases, sanitization and cleansing provides, summer time and after-school packages, and psychological well being helps.
A listing of ESSER II fund allocations is obtainable on PDE’s web site. Funds should be utilized by September 2023.
Faculty districts and constitution colleges should apply to PDE to acquire their allotted funds. The applying course of can be posted on the PDE web site.
Whereas ESSER II funding is useful for ongoing restoration and faculty reopening efforts, Ortega famous that further federal funding is required to handle the crises of the previous 12 months.
“We’re grateful for the bipartisan effort to help college communities throughout this time, however PDE can be advocating for added motion from Congress within the days, weeks, and months forward and I encourage educators to affix us in elevating their voices,” mentioned Ortega.