What Will the American Rescue Plan Act Mean for Your School?

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Two Rivers Public Charter School Building

The American Rescue Plan Act provides nearly $122 billion in COVID-19 relief funding for K-12 education. That’s a lot of money considering that the FY2021 regular appropriation for K-12 programs is $42.6 billion.

Here’s what that means for charter schools:

How are American Rescue Plan funds being allocated to states for schools?

100% of the funds are allocated to states based on Title I shares. That means they use a mathematical formula to determine how much each state gest based on the number of children eligible for Title I support and the state per-pupil cost of education.  

How are states using American Rescue Plan funds on education?

States can reserve up to 10% of American Rescue Plan funds to spend on:

  • Activities to address learning loss
  • Summer enrichment programs
  • After school programs
  • Administrative costs

That means states must allocate at least 90% to local educational agencies (LEAs)—including charter school LEAs—based on Title I shares. Of that, 20% must be used for activities to address learning loss.

All of these expenditures must also address students' social-emotional needs and the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on subgroups of students. The activities also must be evidence-based.

What can schools spend these funds on?

Schools can use the proposed funds to prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19. The America Rescue Plan funds are extremely flexible, but here are a few examples:

  • Technology
  • Sanitation and cleaning supplies
  • Mental health services and supports
  • Facility repairs and improvements, like HVAC upgrades or adding modular classrooms to abide by social distancing guidelines
  • COVID-19 tests
  • Addressing learning loss
  • Instructional materials, curriculum, or professional development
  • Additional transportation costs
  • Additional pay for employees to address COVID-related challenges

Note: Capital expenses and transportation purchases must receive prior written approval from your state educational agency and the U.S. Department of Education.

If you work at a charter school, we recommend watching our webinar What Will the American Rescue Plan Act Mean for Your School? to help you plan, avoid potential pitfalls, and learn more about what’s next in relief funding.


Kim McCabe is the senior director of communications at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. 


March 23, 2021 - 04:22pm
Arlene Muszyns…

Im grateful to get your message about the nice increase funding for charter schools. All 3 of my Grandchildren go to Mast Charter 2,here in NE Philly. Its such a superb ,blue ribbon school. They all absolutely LOVE it. God has truly blessed us with this golden opportunity. They will surely thrive especially ,with the increased funding.. Stay safe and thanks again..

March 23, 2021 - 04:40pm
Ezdehar Abuhatab

Public charter schools are about parent choice. Public charter schools provide quality education for economically disadvantaged African Americans and Hispanic students in poor communities. Public charter schools allow students from poor communities to successfully graduate from high school and live life on their own terms. Public charter schools improve life outcomes in poor communities. This is why they need increased funding so that they can continue to educate the future of our country so that we can be a global leader for the world. I know so many students that attended public charter schools and now they are adults with purpose and goals, changing their communities and bettering lives. Public charter schools, especially the successful ones deserve all our support.

March 23, 2021 - 09:24pm
Carline Laroche

Be safe