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.
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 the 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 legal education agency 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.
Thomas County Schools - Application and Use of Funds
The Thomas County School System announces the plan to utilize American Rescue Plan (ARP) federal funds to overcome “Learning Loss” that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic. Our in-person plan is guided by the recommendations of the CDC, GaDPH, and the Governor's Office. Masks remain optional on all of our campuses.
Our system's plan will be submitted to the Georgia Department of Education for review and approval. Over the next three years, the funds will be used to address learning loss due to COVID-19 and to support the district's multi-tiered system of supports for students. In addition, other items like summer learning opportunities will also be charged to the grant. Throughout the funding period of the ARP ESSER grant, we will continue to monitor, evaluate, and update our plan based on stakeholder feedback and the needs of the system.
The ARP ESSER PLAN survey will remain open to receive stakeholder feedback on our plan. At least every six months, our system's ARP ESSER / CARES III plan will be reevaluated and public input will continue to be sought from our stakeholders.
Access the plan by clicking on the link below:
American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act ESSER III-LEA Application
American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act ESSER III-LEA Budget
Thomas County Schools 23-24 In-person Instructional Plan (Back-to-School Guidance)
If you would like to provide feedback on our system's plan, please click on the survey link below: