The U.S. Department of Education has announced the approval of California’s American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) plan and distributed remaining ARP ESSER funds to them. California’s plan details how the state is using and plans to use ARP ESSER funds to 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.
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. California is receiving $15 billion total in ARP ESSER funds, and approval of their plan will result in the release of the final $5 billion.
“I am excited to announce approval of California’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. The approval of these plans enables states to receive vital, additional American Rescue Plan funds to help keep schools open 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.”
“Nothing is more important than addressing the mental health needs of our students and supporting our school communities with recovery and acceleration of learning as we emerge from the pandemic,” stated State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond. “We are grateful for the significant educational investments in COVID relief that have been made possible by strong leadership and solid partnership with the U.S. Department of Education, the California State Board of Education, the California Department of Public Health, the California Legislature, the Governor’s office and others, including educators, families, and students who have come together to help us to ensure that these critical dollars will be used to best meet the needs of schools.”
The ARP ESSER state plans approved by the Department, including California’s, show how states are using federal pandemic resources to support safe, in-person instruction and meet the social, emotional, mental health, and academic needs of students—with a focus on the students most impacted by the pandemic.