Survey finds district leaders want more time to maximize federal investments and are planning ahead for September 2024, when funding expires.

District leaders outline top 3 COVID relief funding priorities

Survey finds district leaders want more time to maximize federal investments and are planning ahead for September 2024, when relief funding expires

Three top priorities:

  • District leaders continue to report they are using ARP funding for long-term system changes that will prioritize a shift in expanding whole child supports, including social, emotional, mental, and physical health and development of their students.
  • Their second long-term priority in 2022 is also the same as 2021: engaging high school students who have fallen off the track to graduate and who need additional supports to navigate the transition to college and career.
  • The report also details how spending on districts’ third long-term priority –renovating school facilities and improving ventilation—continues to be hampered by the lack of federal guidance on whether districts will be able to extend the timeline for these projects, which have been stymied by supply-chain issues, worker shortages and inflation. Forty-eight percent indicate the 2024 deadline presents an obstacle to completing these critical projects.

Superintendents also predicted what areas they would be forced to cut in September 2024 when the deadline for spending ARP funding occurs. Fifty-seven percent reported they will decrease, or end, summer learning and enrichment offerings currently being provided to students. Fifty-three percent reported they will have to end contracts with specialist staff, such as counselors, social workers and reading specialists, to support student needs. Forty-four percent reported they will have to stop compensating staff for working additional hours for the extended school year/day programming they offer.

Approximately half (49%) of respondents reported that a later deadline to spend ARP funding would allow them to retain recently hired staff and extend recently added programs and supports for students that are making a big difference, both in learning recovery efforts and in addressing the social-emotional needs of students.

Click here to read part three of the AASA ARP Funding survey. Hundreds of superintendents responded to the survey, which was issued in July.

Laura Ascione

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