North Salem schools set to receive over $700K in federal aid

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Last week, the U.S. Department of Education announced that schools across the country will receive federal funding to address the impacts of COVID-19 on Pre-K-12 education, as part of the recently signed American Rescue Plan. The North Salem School District is expected to receive $717 thousand dollars as part of the initiative.

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said, “these funds from the American Rescue Plan will allow schools to invest in mitigation strategies to get students back in the classroom and stay there, and address the many impacts this pandemic has had on students--especially those disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.”

$122 billion is earmarked nationwide for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) Fund, as part of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan. Of that, New York State was allotted $8.9 billion. Local school districts within New York were assigned funds using a formula based on the number of children from low-income families within their district.

North Salem Superintendent Ken Freeston said Tuesday that the district has not yet received any information from the state." He explained, “there is usually a lag at times like these between federal announcements and the official figures from the State.”

Under the plan, state educational agencies are required to reserve, at a minimum, 7 percent of their total allocation as follows: 5 percent for interventions to address learning loss; 1 percent for summer enrichment programs and 1 percent for comprehensive after school programs.

As for how the North Salem CSD will allocate its assigned funds, Superintendent Ken Freeston said, “the administrative council will ultimately make recommendations to the Board. Since we have until 2023 to expend the money it may be prudent to wait until we have experience with the in-person instructional model.” 

The U.S. Department of Education is expected to make funds available to states this month, “so that [schools] may act to fund health and safety measures consistent with CDC guidance, address disruptions to teaching and learning resulting from the pandemic and get students back in the classroom quickly and safely,” according to a statement on the Department’s website.

The Department of Education also directed that local educational agencies (LEA) receiving funds "must, within 30 days of receiving the funds, make publicly available on its website a plan for the safe return to in-person instruction and continuity of services. Before making the plan
publicly available, the LEA must seek public comment on the plan."

North Salem’s middle and high school students are expected to return full-time Tuesday, April 6.

Expected federal aid for nearby Westchester school districts, per Patch:

  • Bedford Central School District: $3,701,000
  • Brewster Central School District - $3,399,000
  • Carmel Central School District - $2,842,000
  • Katonah-Lewisboro Union Free School District - $587,000
  • Somers Central School District - $426,000

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