March 11, 2021
The President’s signature on the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) means an appropriation of $122,774,800,000 will be available to the Department of Education’s Elementary and Secondary School Relief Fund (ESSER III) to be shared amongst the 50 states. Montana’s portion is estimated at $400,000,000. These dollars have yet to reach Montana but will be available through the end of September 2023 with a possible one-year extension.
“Our Montana schools are open for learning,” stated Superintendent Arntzen. “These federal dollars emphasize healing from the disruption caused by the coronavirus and focus on enhanced learning for summer and after school opportunities. Local control at the district level will dictate the manner these funds will be spent to support the unique needs of students.”
Montana will make an allocation of ESSER III out to 400+ school districts not later than 60 days after the receipt of the federal funds. The law requires not less than 20% of the districts’ funds are to address learning loss through the implementation of evidence-based interventions, such as summer learning or summer enrichment, extended day, comprehensive afterschool programs, or extended school year programs. These interventions must respond to students’ academic, social, and emotional needs and address the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus. Students experiencing homelessness, and children and youth in foster care are prioritized. The remaining districts’ funds have up to 18 flexible, allowable uses that are similar to the previous federal funds in ESSER II.