Cedar Falls, Waterloo schools to use some of federal school stimulus funds for summer programming | Education News

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DES MOINES — The state of Iowa is receiving $774.52 million for elementary and secondary schools through the latest round of federal stimulus dollars.

The money is part of the $121.97 billion authorized for kindergarten through 12th-grade schools in the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund of the American Rescue Plan, signed into law March 11. A recent U.S. Department of Education news release laid out the allocation by state.

Funding is based on the proportion that each state received through another federal law, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, during the most recent fiscal year. No information has been released on amounts to be distributed to individual school districts across Iowa.

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Once awarded, districts will have until Sept. 30, 2023, to spend the money. According to information from the Department of Education, local school districts must reserve at least 20% of their allocations to address learning loss through implementation of evidence-based interventions. That could include summer school, summer enrichment, extended day, comprehensive after school programs or extended year programs.

The remaining funds can be used for the purposes allowed under two earlier rounds of federal stimulus money for schools. Among those uses are hiring new staff and avoiding layoffs. 

Superintendents of both the Waterloo and Cedar Falls community schools have said in recent weeks that some portion of emergency federal funding will be used for increased summer programming. The districts will be working to address learning gaps that have emerged as a result of the statewide school shutdown last spring and challenges with virtual learning this year.