Michigan receives $1.2b in federal funds to help schools stay open in person, improve education equity post pandemic

(WWJ) Michigan schools will be getting a $1.2 billion boost to help them stay open in-person safely as COVID-19 remains in our midst, and to expand equitable educational opportunities for children who were most impacted by the pandemic.

The money comes from the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief, a nationwide federal program that distributes $81 billion among 50 states.

Michigan has already received two thirds of its total allotted $3.7 billion under the Rescue Plan. The states receive two thirds of the money prior to the approval of their plan, and the last third after the U.S. Department of Education approves the plan submitted to them by the state.

Michigan’s plan was approved on Friday.

“As we work to emerge from the pandemic, it is critical that our Michigan schools have the federal resources necessary to ensure a safe and effective learning environment for students, teachers, and staff,” Sen. Gary Peters said. “Now that Michigan’s plan is approved for using this American Rescue Plan funding we secured, our state can support additional efforts to expand early childhood education and literacy opportunities, while also enabling educators and students to be healthy and safe at schools.”

Robert McCann, Executive Director of the K-12 alliance, told WWJ this will be a great help to students and teachers across the state.

“Over the next two to three years, this will go to recovery efforts across the state,” he told WWJ’s Michael Cohen. "It’s a significant amount of money, and it’s an appropriate amount of money, because these students deserve every effort we can give them to get them the support we need.”

Michigan’s Rescue Plan includes the following pillars.

-“Returning to In-Person Learning in 2021: All traditional public school districts are operating predominantly in-person this year, and all students have access to in-person learning.

-Safely Reopening Schools and Sustaining Safe Operations: The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) has promoted collaborative partnerships between districts and local health departments to conduct vaccination clinics. In partnership with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the MI Safe Schools Testing Program supports schools in providing COVID-19 testing to allow for safe, in-person learning. MDHHS is providing over $24 million in additional federal funding to school districts and local public health departments to hire 220 Health Resource Advocates to effectively support school-based COVID-19 testing and reporting."

Local school districts will have until 2024 to use their money and must submit their plans to the Michigan Department of Education by December 14th.

Live On-Air
W W J Newsradio 9 50
WWJ Newsradio 950
Listen Now
Now Playing
Now Playing