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Education Leaders Say COVID-19 Relief Funding Has Made A Difference

Published: Tuesday, May 18, 2021 - 4:13pm

Arizona K-12 schools are scheduled to receive $2.6 billion in funding from the latest federal COVID-19 relief package known as the American Rescue Plan, which Congress passed in March. This is in addition to the $227.4 million that the state's K-12 schools received in the first round of funding and the $1.084 billion they received from the second round of funding. 

The Phoenix Union High School District is expecting to receive more than $100 million in funding from ARP. 

“That’s huge," said Naketa Ross, one of the district's governing board members. "That’s a lot of money going into our district to help our kids, help our schools and so we love that it's relatively flexible, meaning that we can spend it on learning or wellness or staff retention or technology or facilities as it relates to learning.”

The U.S. Department of Education said the ARP funds may also be used to  hiring additional school personnel to address learning loss or provide additional support, improving ventilation systems and strategies to address students’ social, emotional and mental health needs. 

Funding from previous COVID relief packages have made a difference for the Tempe Union High School District, said Brian Garcia, the district's governing board president. 

“This has allowed us to really dig into our social and emotional wellness and support for our students, make sure that they are getting their credit recovery and meeting them where they are, but also looking at their families and seeing what it is that they need," he said. 

East of Prescott, the Camp Verde Unified School District has been able to use some of the money to provide hotspots for online learning. 

The Arizona Department of Education expects to announce allocation amounts for individual school districts and charter schools next week.

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