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Bulloch Local Government

Bulloch Schools Seeking Input on How to use American Rescue Plan Act Funds

Meeting to focus on district’s annual CLIP revisions and use of American Rescue Plan Act III funds

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Bulloch County Schools, the county’s local education agency (LEA), invites parents, guardians and the community to a public input meeting on Wednesday, June 23, at 5:30 p.m. in the boardroom of the William James Educational Complex at 150 Williams Road in Statesboro. The purpose of the meeting is to hear an overview and provide input on two key topics: (1) the annual Consolidated LEA Improvement Plan (CLIP) revision; and (2) the district’s application and planned use of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021’s Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds (ARP ESSER III).

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Consolidated LEA Improvement Plan
The CLIP integrates the requirements for school improvement planning across all of the Every Student Succeeds Act’s (ESSA) programs and Georgia’s Professional Learning Program. The CLIP eliminates the need for LEAs to submit separate plans for individual programs. It has three major components: (1) ESSA and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Plan Descriptors; (2) System Profile; and (3) LEA Implementation Plan. The CLIP must be reviewed and approved annually in order for the school district to receive funds for its state and federal programs.

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American Rescue Plan Act of 2021’s Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds
ARP ESSER III, which are federal COVID-19 stimulus relief funds, provides a total of nearly $122 billion to states and school districts to help safely reopen and sustain the safe operation of schools and address the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the nation’s students. In addition to ARP ESSER III, the ARP Act includes $3 billion for special education, $2.75 billion to support non-public schools, and additional funding for homeless children and youth.  

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The U.S. Department of Education has made $3.8 billion in ARP ESSER III funds available to the Georgia Department of Education. On March 25, the State Board of Education approved State School Superintendent Richard Woods’ recommendation to begin allocation of the funds to school districts.

According to a U.S. Department of Education fact sheet about the use of ARP ESSER III funds, school districts are required to set aside at least 20 percent of the funds to “address learning loss through the implementation of evidence-based interventions and ensure that those interventions respond to students’ social, emotional, and academic needs and address the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on underrepresented student subgroups (each major racial and ethnic group, children from low-income families, children with disabilities, English learners, gender, migrant students, students experiencing homelessness, and children and youth in foster care).”

Remaining LEA funds are flexible and may be used to support other programs within the district for at-risk student populations, distance or remote learning, school meals, mental and physical health, supplemental learning and addressing learning loss, facilities and equipment, continuity of core staff and services, and more.

The ARP ESSER III funds are allocated based on a district’s proportionate share of Title I funding. For example, if a school district received two percent of Georgia’s overall share of Title I funding in Fiscal Year 2021, they will receive two percent of the ARP allocation. This funding formula is required by federal law.

Bulloch County’s Use of Funds
Bulloch County Schools’ administrators have presented plans to the Board of Education about use of the district’s ARP ESSER III funds. In part, over the next three years, the funds will be used to fund instructional coaches and climate specialists to serve all students, address learning loss due to COVID-19, and to support the district’s multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS) for students. In addition other items like summer learning opportunities and virtual school will also be charged to the grant.

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