Pennsylvania receives over $500 million in federal relief to support schools

Pennsylvania

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The U.S. Education Department has approved the state’s request for $523 million in one-time federal aid to help schools respond to the impacts of Covid-19.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education submitted its Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief fund to the USDE last week and announced on Wednesday that local education agencies can now apply to receive funding.

Schools can expect to see funding arrive in the following weeks.

The state Education Department says that via the CARES Act, 90% of the funds, or $471 million, will arrive at public and charter schools. Each will receive funding proportional to federal Title I-A funds delivered in 2019.

The state says usage of ESSER funding is up to the discretion of local education agencies, examples include: food service, training, updating technology, sanitization and cleaning, summer and after-school programs, and mental health support.

The department is urging schools, however, to prioritize investing in vulnerable students and families, including those living in poverty, students with disabilities, English learners, migrant students, students experiencing homelessness, and children in foster care.

Funds are required to spent by September 2022.

“As educators, our top priority has always been to ensure the health and safety of staff and students,” Pennsylvania Education Secretary Pedro Rivera said in a release. “The Covid-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented change to our school communities, and school leaders across the state have stepped up to ensure students and families continue to be served. These funds will provide vital assistance during this critical time.”

Remaining ESSER funds are expected to be used on state-level activities such as support initiatives and remote learning.

Here is a list of what each school district and charter school will receive in ESSER funds.

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