PreK-12 Schools to Receive Nearly $123B in Emergency Funding
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools applauds the passage of the American Rescue Plan Act and the support it will provide for public education. The new law will provide $122.7 billion for PreK-12 education through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER III) fund—including at least $28 billion for afterschool and summer learning programs and other evidence-based strategies for addressing learning loss. Emergency relief dollars will go to State Education Agencies and Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) for distribution to schools. For charter schools that operate as their own LEAs, funds will go directly to those schools. Based on the proportion of students enrolled in public charter schools, an estimated $7 billion will be available to meet their needs.
Nina Rees, president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, offered the following remarks:
“This is the first major law enacted by the Biden Administration, and it demonstrates the President’s commitment to families and people who were hit hard by COVID-19. This funding for PreK-12 education will be a tremendous help as educators work to support students and families who bore the brunt of disruption, learning loss, and insufficient resources to facilitate distance learning.
“The American Rescue Act allocates a historic amount of funding for public education, including charter schools which serve nearly 3.3 million students. The National Alliance looks forward to working with states and LEAs to ensure charter schools are treated equitably in the allocation of these vital resources. Charter school students are public school students and deserve to receive all the support intended for them.
“Every school in every community in America suffered during the pandemic. And that’s why every type of public school needs help. More than a year since the official start of the pandemic, there is still much to do. Our most vulnerable communities suffered the biggest losses, and they remain in great need. This support for schools is a strong step towards restoring our country’s physical and economic health. Our schools now have the resources to serve students even better than when the pandemic hit and exposed shameful inequities that were unseen by many.”
In addition to the funding for ESSER, the National Alliance applauds the inclusion of the following provisions:
- $800 million to identify and assist homeless children and youth to attend school and receive wrap-around services
- Specific funding for students with disabilities through $2.5 billion for part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
- An Emergency Connectivity Fund, funded at $7.2 billion, to support schools and libraries in providing telecommunications and information services, connected devices, and other eligible equipment to students, teachers, and library patrons for internet use at home or at other locations outside of the school and library.
- Federal support through the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), to pay for 100% of the costs of eligible telecommunications equipment and services, subject to any caps based on what the FCC determines is reasonable, for costs during the designated COVID emergency time period.