Considering federal relief funds will only last approximately three years, superintendents are anticipating a fiscal cliff and being strategic with investments.
Federal aid from the American Rescue Plan, which provided the largest pot of COVID-19 pandemic relief funds for schools to date, is making its way to states. The package, which provided nearly $123 billion through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, is prompting district leaders to plan in unprecedented ways for the next three years, as well as prepare for a fiscal cliff once those funds run dry.
“We are anticipating having access to that money immediately,” said Michael Hinojosa, superintendent of Dallas Independent School District in Texas. “We have to be very careful because, when this money runs out there is going to be a funding cliff, and so we have to be very careful not to hire a lot of people.”
This article features the following ideas for spending ARP funds:
- Provide incentive for existing teachers, hire with caution
- Building teacher capacity through virtual coaching program
- Summer school and enrichment
- Social-emotional learning curriculum
- Hybrid learning using outside instructors within the school day
- Experimenting with nontraditional school calendars