ACPS released a community survey on July 16, 2021 asking for comments relating to the proposed allocation of stimulus funding. The stimulus package, American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act Emergency Relief (ESSER) III Fund has provisions to address COVID learning loss. The ACPS proposal leaves much ambiguity about how the planned expenditures will address the gap in learning loss. $11.4M has been allocated to ACPS. Only 34% of those funds are allocated to “Addressing Unfinished Learning.” 59.6% of the funds will be allocated to “Addressing Student’s Academic, Social and Emotional, and Mental Health Needs.”
The actual planned use for this money is vague. Citizens and parents should take the opportunity to weigh in on the allocation of these funds. From the May 27, 2021 board meeting where the fund allocations were first presented (see details here), it was stated that “These funds are anticipated to be used primarily for the learning recovery program being offered after the end of the regular school year. Others uses of these funds will be consistent with Federal guidelines to meet educational needs related to the pandemic.”
The details presented in the survey and in the Excel spreadsheet presented to the board May 27 show no detail on exactly how these funds will be used. There is a true learning gap due to COVID, but there is no clear path in the funding for overcoming this gap. Instead, it appears that the funds will be used for tangential programs and no materials presented to date show how these funds can demonstrably be tied to learning recovery.
Pre-view the survey (included at the bottom of this post)
Before taking the survey, C.A.R.E. recommends that citizens first familiarize themselves with the American Rescue Plan Act and with how ACPS actually intends to spend the money.
Prepare a response to the survey; consider the questions below:
Does the allocation of funds align primarily to actual loss of learning, or does it pertain more to ACPS pet projects and social justice programs? Where are the COVID learning gaps documented? How are the funds tied directly to overcoming documented learning gaps?Where are the details about the specific uses of the funds? Are any of the funds planned to be used for Anti-Racist curriculum implementation or consultants?
Take the survey, adding substantive comments based on your review of materials.
All survey responses must be received no later than July 26, 2021. Survey is available by clicking this link.