USA/March 12, 2021/by Cynthia Howell/Source: https://www.arkansasonline.com/
Arkansas Education Commissioner Johnny Key told state Board of Education members Thursday that the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan signed into law by President Joe Biden will provide much more money for education than the two previous covid-19 relief aid packages.
Key said that “if it comes out as they say,” a portion of the money — maybe 20% — will be earmarked for addressing the learning loss that students experienced as the result of the covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic caused Gov. Asa Hutchinson to close schools to all on-site instruction in the spring of 2020, and it has disrupted instruction in the current 2020-21 school year.
Key pointed to the state’s newly announced initiative to enhance district acquisition and to use high quality instructional materials and professional training, and he suggested that the federal money might be available to support that.
“The timing for this work couldn’t be better,” he said about the funding and the purchase of new instructional materials.
He also suggested that districts may be able to use the special federal funding to offset anticipated loss of state funding in the 2021-22 school year — the result of declines in student enrollment that many districts experienced. State funding for a school district is based largely on the previous year’s student enrollment.
Key said the state’s education system could see double the more than $500 million that is being provided by the virus relief measure that was approved in December. That $500 million far exceeded the $128 million distributed to Arkansas for education in the first round of relief funding last year.
Read Friday’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for more details.
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