HARTFORD, Conn. — The U.S. Department of Education approved Connecticut's plan for the use of American Rescue Plan funds to support its students and schools within the state.
Earlier this year, the DOE distributed two-thirds of American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) funds totaling $81 billion to the 50 states and District of Columbia.
“I applaud the many teachers and educational staff who have been working throughout this pandemic to engage our students and keep them actively involved throughout this difficult time,” Gov. Ned Lamont said in a statement. “Our administration will continue working with school districts to ensure that we can maintain these efforts and every student has access to the educational opportunities they deserve."
The statement continued: "I appreciate President Biden for approving this funding, and Connecticut’s Congressional delegation for their advocacy to ensure that our schools have access to these critical resources.”
According to the governor's office, the state’s plan seeks to maximize both short-term and long-term investments of the federal funding with an emphasis on promoting renewal, reducing opportunity gaps, accelerating learning, and advancing equity.
“I am excited to announce the approval of Connecticut’s plan,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “It is heartening to see, reflected in these state plans, the ways in which states are thinking deeply about how to use American Rescue Plan funds to continue to provide critical support to schools and communities, particularly as we move into the summer and look ahead to the upcoming academic year."
Cardona, who once served as Connecticut's education commissioner, said the approval of such plans enables states to receive vital, additional funds to "quickly and safely reopen schools for full-time, in-person learning; meet students’ academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs; and address disparities in access to educational opportunity that were exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic."
"The state plans that have been submitted to the Department lay the groundwork for the ways in which an unprecedented infusion of federal resources will be used to address the urgent needs of America’s children and build back better,” he said in a statement.
Connecticut will receive $1.1 billion total ARP ESSER funds, which includes the final $369 million that will be distributed by the DOE.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have been striving to make the investments necessary to help our school communities meet their areas of greatest need, especially for those students disproportionately affected by the pandemic,” Commissioner of Education Charlene Russell-Tucker said. “This historic level of funding allows us, as one educational community, to be bold and innovative as we forge our path to a transformative and equitable recovery.”
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