March 15, 2021
At the School Board Meeting of March 17, 2021, School Board Vice Chair Dr. Steve Gallon III will proffer School Board Agenda Item H-17 regarding the receipt, plan and accountability for nearly $1.1 billion from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
On March 11, 2021, President Joe Biden signed into law The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus bill passed by the 117TH United States Congress. Its intent is to speed up the United States recovery from the economic and health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing recession which was educed as a consequence. First proposed on January 14, 2021, the package builds upon many of the measures in the CARES Act from March 2020 and in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 from December 2020.
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 provides $1,400 direct payments to individuals making up to $75,000 annually, $350 billion in aid to state and local governments and $14 billion for vaccine distribution. It also provides $130 billion to elementary, middle, and high schools to assist with safe reopening, with Florida slated to receive approximately $7.4 billion. Miami-Dade County Public Schools, the state’s largest school district and having the highest proportion of economically disadvantaged students, is estimated to receive $1.1 billion. The bill will also directly impact local students and families through individual relief measures, including child tax credits that are projected to reduce child poverty substantially.
With the infusion of these unprecedented funds, the District will enhance its capacity to mitigate and address the unprecedented adverse impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on its students and their learning for over a year, with studies anticipating that learning loss will be greater among low-income, Black, and Hispanic students—a demographic highly concentrated in Miami-Dade County Public Schools and whose anticipated academic, social, and emotional needs exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic in large part and generated the unprecedented amount of federal funds.
Therefore, this item seeks to direct the Superintendent to schedule a Board Workshop to discuss and review the allocation and allowable use of funds to the District via the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021; review the prior allocation, expenditure, and planned use for remaining funds allocated to the District through the CARES Act from March 2020 and in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 from December 2020; and establish a system and structure for quarterly reporting of all funds expended through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and make available for easy public access and review on the District website no later than May 14, 2021.
“This will ensure that the Board provides increased focus, transparency, and accountability as well as an opportunity for the public to be informed about and serve witness to the School Board’s policy, practices, and procurement decision-making processes involving nearly $1.1 billion that have been allocated to enhance and uplift the learning and lives of our students—especially those facing the greatest challenges and with the greatest needs,” said Dr. Gallon.
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