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ERN CT: Investing Connecticut’s Relief Funding from the American Rescue Plan

Realistic, Effective, and Targeted Strategies for the State and Local Districts

In March, 2021, the US Department of Education announced that Connecticut will receive $1.1 billion in K-12 relief through the American Rescue Plan (ARP)’s Elementary & Secondary Schools Emergency Relief Fund (ESSERF III) fund. These resources are explicitly earmarked for the state and local districts to address issues resulting from COVID-19.

Ninety percent of each state’s K-12 relief allocation is directed towards sub-grants from the state to local districts, amounting to $995 million in Connecticut. Although the state of Connecticut will only retain 10% of the incoming K-12 relief funds, this is the most generous COVID relief package for K- 12 schools to date.

Notably, there are significant set asides for “Learning Loss” interventions. At the state-level, 5%, or $55 million, must be committed to these interventions. At the local level, 20% of the total subgrants, or $199 million, must also be reserved.

With this large influx of one-time funding, the state and local districts will be receiving a plethora of policy proposals. Decision-makers must invest the resources realistically, effectively, and in a targeted way that will maximize a long-term impact on students.

Realistic, Effective, Targeted.

As criteria for whether to invest in a program, state and local decision makers should consider whether policy proposals are:

  1. Realistic: Are they likely to be implemented in a high-quality, timely fashion?

  2. Effective: Do they advance rigorous, evidence-based programming on foundational aspects of public education?

  3. Targeted: Will they have a long-term impact in response to learning losses, academic needs, or the social implications of COVID-19?

Our five recommendations below provide guidance for: state leaders and local district leaders.


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