Chester County school districts getting $50 million in COVID funding; will help to fully reopen schools

WEST CHESTER — School districts in Chester County will receive more than $50 million in federal COVID-19 relief funding, with Oxford Area School District receiving the most and Unionville-Chadds Ford receiving the least.

The funding comes from the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief passed last month by Congress and signed by President Joe Biden. Nationwide, $123 billion for K-12 schools will be distributed through the federal Title I formula for funding schools and districts with concentrated poverty. Pennsylvania schools will get close to $5 billion.

The money is to be used on helping schools reopen and helping students catch up on learning they have missed during the pandemic. Districts must spend at least 20 percent of the money addressing learning loss and must make public a plan for returning to in-person schooling safely. Another $2.75 billion is allotted for private K-12 schools, bringing the total to about $126 billion.

“The school districts and charter schools must use at least 20 percent of this money to address learning loss and the social, emotional, and academic needs of underrepresented students, including students from low-income families, students with disabilities, English learners, migrant students, students experiencing homelessness, and children in foster care,” Wolf said in a statement.

Wolf said schools can use the rest of the funding for a wide range of activities, including food service; professional training; technology purchases; sanitization and cleaning supplies; summer and after-school programs; and mental health supports.

Said U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, D-6th, of Easttown: “The American Rescue Plan is having a real impact in our community.”

School districts must use the funds by September, 2024.

The announcement comes about a after the U.S. Education Department released $81 billion in federal American Rescue Plan funds available to states to support safely reopening schools for in-person instruction and to provide for the needs of students, including closing academic equity gaps and addressing mental health concerns.

Allocations of funding for Chester County School Districts:

  • Avon Grove School District, $2 million,
  • Coatesville Area School District, $13.9 million,
  • Downingtown Area School District, $2.49 million,
  • Octorara School District, $4.5 million,
  • Oxford Area School District, $6.4 million,
  • Owen J. Roberts School District, $2.8 million,
  • Phoenixville Area School District, $3.3 million,
  • Spring Ford Area School District, $4.3 million,
  • Tredyffrin-Easttown School District, $1.5 million,
  • Twin Valley School District, $4.1 million,
  • Unionville-Chadds Ford school District, $737,292
  • West Chester Area School District, $4.2 million.

In addition, the Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School was awarded $7.6 million. It is a public cyber charter school approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, and open to all students in grades K–12 who reside in the state of Pennsylvania.

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