District leaders outline top 3 COVID relief funding priorities

School districts continue to prioritize expanding summer learning and enrichment offerings, adding specialist staff such as mental health personnel and reading specialists, and investing in high-quality instructional materials and curriculum, according to a survey administered by AASA, The School Superintendents Association.

The School District Spending of American Rescue Plan report is part of a multi-series survey focused on how district leaders across the country are utilizing American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and, in particular, address student learning recovery.

This survey also sought information about what issues districts are experiencing in spending ARP funding and how they would change their spending decisions if they had more time to drawdown federal COVID-relief funds.

“Superintendents know best how to maximize the academic impact of the funding. It costs nothing for Congress to give districts additional time to extend the additional resources they have in place—reading specialists, tutoring programs, enrichment offerings and social-emotional supports—for students for an additional two years,” said Daniel A. Domenech, AASA executive director. “We call on Congress to extend this arbitrary deadline and enable students to get the additional time with these professionals and programs they need to recover from the pandemic.”

Districts’ ARP spending priorities have remained consistent from the 2021-2022 school year to the 2022-2023 school year. Improving instructional practices, expanding learning opportunities and learning time, hiring staff and addressing the social-emotional needs of students remain top priorities of public school system leaders, regardless of state, district size or locale.

Laura Ascione
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