Following federal approval of Michigan’s plan to spend federal COVID-relief money, the state will receive the final one-third of $3.7 billion in its education funding approved by Congress in the American Rescue Plan.
The U.S. Department of Education approved Michigan’s priorities for the rescue funds earlier this month: expanding early childhood learning opportunities, improving early literacy achievement, and improving the health, safety, and wellness of all learners.
With the release of the final $1.2 billion in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds – known as ESSER – local school officials are mandated by law to engage in meaningful consultation with stakeholders, including teachers and their unions, in deciding how to spend it.
The consultation mandate applies to ESSER III funds, unlike appropriations under ESSER I and II, said MEA Economist Tanner Delpier. ESSER I, ESSER II, and ESSER III need to be obligated by Sept. 30 of 2022, 2023, and 2024 respectively, Delpier noted.
Michigan’s plan to address student safety includes partnerships between districts and local health departments to conduct vaccination clinics. In addition, the state health department’s MI Safe Schools Testing Program supports schools in providing COVID-19 testing to allow for safe in-person learning.
School districts can use funds to address safety and provide interventions that address the academic and social-emotional needs of student populations most impacted by the pandemic. Allowable uses include everything from personnel to equipment and infrastructure. The plan also includes ESSER III equalization funding to provide increases to districts with smaller Title I populations who would not have received as much COVID relief.
See how much your district will receive in federal relief funding at www.mea.org/fundingmaps.