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NC Wins Approval of Plan for Federal COVID-19 Relief Funds for Schools

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With today’s announcement by the U.S. Department of Education that it has approved North Carolina’s spending plan for the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) Fund, the state will receive $1.2 billion remaining from a $3.6 billion allocation to help public schools and students recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The state received $2.4 billion in March from the ARP ESSER fund, with the final one-third of the full allotment, or $1.2 billion, pending approval of the state’s plan by the U.S. Department of Education.

Districts and schools are receiving 90 percent of the state’s total $3.6 billion allocation, based on the same proportions used for allocating federal Title I funds keyed to census poverty estimates. The remaining 10 percent, or $360 million, will support statewide initiatives to help schools and students recover from pandemic-related disruptions and to also improve outcomes long term.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt said the plan that has earned federal approval will help North Carolina address both present and future education needs.

“North Carolina’s plan for this funding isn’t just about recovering from the pandemic – it’s about rebuilding and re-envisioning the education landscape in our state,” Truitt said.

“This plan is a product of thoughtful collaboration across the department and among key partners including the General Assembly, with a focus on strategically investing money to meet the unique needs of every student,” she said. “The newly-established Office of Learning Recovery and Acceleration is prepared to direct these funds in ways that will support teachers, uplift students and engage our community so we can foster a resilient recovery, where students are presented with better outcomes and new opportunities.”

The Department of Public Instruction will use the funds to launch a number of evidence-based initiatives to support schools statewide, including $30 million for high-impact tutoring, $19 million for a competency-based assessment and platform and $35 million for a competitive grant program for summer-school and after-school extensions.

Find more information here about North Carolina’s plan from the U.S. Department of Education. 

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