USED Shares Resources for Using ARP Funds to Address State & Local Personnel Shortages

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USED Shares Resources for Using ARP Funds to Address State & Local Personnel Shortages

Late last year, the U.S. Department of Education held a two-part webinar to share valuable resources to help districts address the state and local teacher and staff labor shortages. In a Dear Colleague letter from Secretary Cardona in December 2021, the Department urged the use of the American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds to help address the shortages, minimize in-person learning disruptions and meet students' needs. The letter detailed best practices for districts to allocate those funds accordingly.

  • The first part of the webinar focused on addressing teacher labor shortages. The recording can be found here. The presentation can be found here.
  • The second part of the webinar focused on addressing staff labor shortages. The recording can be found here. The presentation can be found here.

The following accompanying resources can be accessed to better help your district allocate those funds:

In the conclusion of the Dear Colleague letter, USED strongly encouraged the use funding under ARP to respond to the urgent needs resulting from the pandemic while beginning to plan for the investments needed to ensure that every  student has access to the qualified educators and staff they need.

The Federal School Safety Clearinghouse Will Launch New Grants Finder Tool for K-12 School Districts

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The Federal School Safety Clearinghouse Will Launch New Grants Finder Tool for K-12 School Districts

Last week, the Federal School Safety Clearinghouse team announced the launch of a new Grants Finder Tool coming in February. The new feature – part of their continued mission to promote and enhance school safety across the nation – will feature federally available school safety-related grant programs and is designed as a decision-making support tool to help schools and districts determine the eligibility and applicability of funding opportunities for their specific needs, challenges, and characteristics.

The new SchoolSafety.gov Grants Finder Tool was developed to help the K-12 community more easily find, apply for and ultimately receive school safety-related funding. The tool will simplify and streamline the federal funding search process for K-12 schools and districts by housing school safety-related grants in one centralized location, as well as providing school personnel with a variety of ways to search for and access grant opportunities from across the federal government.   

The Grants Finder Tool will offer several easy-to-use features to assist stakeholders in finding funding opportunities, no matter their level of expertise or familiarity with federal grant programs, including options to take a quiz, search pre-populated lists or filter grants by specific criteria such as funding agency, application deadline, application level of effort, intended use and school safety topic. Through the tool, individuals will also have the ability sign up for email alerts notifying them when new grant opportunities are added to the site and to stay informed when the latest federal funding opportunities become available.  

The SchoolSafety.gov team developed the Grants Finder Tool to address a direct need of the K-12 school community and with a user-first approach in mind. Direct feedback from a series of user tests – conducted with key stakeholder groups comprising K-12 schools and districts – was considered and implemented into the final design to ensure the tool best meets the needs, challenges, and priorities of the community. 

If you have any questions or would like additional information regarding the Grants Finder Tool, please contact the School Safety team at SchoolSafety@hq.dhs.gov.

AASA leads Letter to ED Asking for School Construction Extension

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AASA leads Letter to ED Asking for School Construction Extension

Today, AASA led a letter signed by thirty national education, school facilities and environmental groups to the U.S. Department of Education requesting that they provide additional timeline flexibilities to districts that are struggling to find contractors and supplies for critical school facility work related to the pandemic. Under the American Rescue Plan (ARP),  districts have until December 2024 to liquidate all their funding, but many small and medium-size districts are struggling to even get estimates for projects they need to do to improve air-quality and learning environments.

The inability to obligate ARP funding for construction projects has to do with larger economic issues outside of districts’ control such as supply chain issues, labor shortages, chip shortages, increased competition for engineers and contractors, and inflation. Given the importance of air quality and social distancing during the pandemic, it is of paramount importance that districts have the time they need to use ARP funding to protect and promote student and educator health and well-being. We hope the Department considers every tool it has to provide flexibility to districts that aim to use federal relief funds for these projects and upgrades.