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The Minnesota Department of Education released its plan this week outlining how the state will spend more than $100 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds.
The American Rescue Plan Act, signed into law in March, directed more than $123 billion to helping schools and students across the country bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic. Minnesota received $1.3 billion, and the federal government requires the state to send at least 90% of that — nearly $1.2 billion — to school districts.
That leaves $132 million in flexible funds for the state Department of Education. The stimulus package mandates states divvy up the money between three areas: Learning recovery to make up for lost instructional time, after-school programs and summer programs.
Minnesota will spend $66 million on learning recovery. The state will send the money to public schools based on enrollment of historically underserved students — students of color, low-income students, students with disabilities, homeless students and students learning English.
Schools will be required to use the learning recovery funds for a list of evidence-based strategies, including expanding tutoring, recruiting teachers of color, translation services and field trips.
The state will direct $13.2 million to after-school programs. Ignite Afterschool, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit network of after-school programs, will distribute the funds. Half the money will go to culturally specific community organizations.
Another $13.2 million will go to summer learning programs, with full-service community schools, neighborhood programs and programs offering tutoring and hands-on learning taking priority.
Minnesota will also use $26 million for a range of programs that support teachers and students, like expanding access to advanced courses for students and training on trauma-informed instruction and discipline training for teachers.
The Department of Education will keep $13.6 million to improve the level of detail in its data reporting, create a public engagement division and administer grants.
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