Iowa schools to receive nearly $775 million for COVID relief from the federal government

DES MOINES, Iowa (KCRG) – Iowa schools are slated to receive nearly $775 million in federal funds to help address costs incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Department of Education made the announcement on Friday. The funds will be going to Pre-K-12 schools.

The $775 million is Iowa’s share of the more than $122.7 billion in the third round of emergency relief provided in the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (APR ESSER) Fund. The fund is part of the comprehensive $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which was signed into law on March 11th.

This third round of funding is more than double the amount the state received earlier this year through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRSSA) Act and roughly 10 times the amount the state received a year ago through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

”With Iowa’s schools open for learning, this new round of funding will provide critical support to address current needs and plan for the future,” said Iowa Department of Education Director Ann Lebo in a statement. “Schools can use this funding over the next two and a half years to cover a variety of pandemic-related expenses and strategies. This includes addressing disruptions to teaching and learning, meeting students’ social, emotional, behavioral health needs, providing summer school and other extended learning and enrichment programs, hiring additional personnel to keep schools safe and healthy, supporting educators in the effective use of technology and meeting the connectivity needs of remote learners.”

Of the nearly $775 million, 90% will be available to school districts. The remaining funds will be used for state-level educational efforts to address urgent issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The law also requires that at least 20% of the funds available to school districts be used to address disruptions to learning through the implementation of evidence-based interventions and to respond to the academic and social, emotional, behavioral health needs of students.

The Iowa Department of Education will provide more information soon about how the APR ESSER funding will be allocated.

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