The Potluck

State approves St. Paul Public Schools COVID relief spending plan

By: - November 8, 2021 1:55 pm

Photo by Getty Images.

The Minnesota Department of Education approved St. Paul Public Schools’ plan to spend $207 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds, the school district announced Monday.

Schools nationwide received more than $100 billion through the American Rescue Plan Act to implement COVID-19 safety measures, help students make up for lost learning time and address the pandemic’s effects on student mental health. The one-time funds must be spent by September 2024. 

St. Paul plans to spend the largest portion of its funds — $90 million — on academic support for students. That will include hiring one or two new math and reading teachers at all K-8 schools and creating more after school and summer programs and college and career readiness programs, according to St. Paul Public Schools. 

The district will also spend nearly $65 million on cleaning, building maintenance and school health workers. Another $11.5 million will go toward specialized support for students with disabilities, students learning English, Native American students and other groups hit hardest by the pandemic.

St. Paul Public Schools will dedicate $9.7 million to equity efforts, including creating a districtwide equity plan and working on recruiting and retaining teachers of color. The district will also use $8 million to boost mental health staffing and programs.

The American Rescue Plan Act was the largest source of COVID-19 relief funding for public schools. St. Paul Public Schools received a total of $334 million in federal aid during the pandemic.

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Rilyn Eischens
Rilyn Eischens

Rilyn Eischens is a data reporter with the Reformer. Rilyn was born and raised in Minnesota and has worked in newsrooms in the Twin Cities, Iowa, Texas and most recently Virginia, where she covered education for The Staunton News Leader. She's an alumna of the Dow Jones News Fund data journalism program and the Minnesota Daily. When Rilyn isn't in the newsroom, she likes to read, add to her plant collection and try new recipes.