WEST CHESTER (January 28, 2021) – School districts and charter schools in Chester County are slated to receive more than $31 million in total federal COVID-19 pandemic support, according to estimated allocations released by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
The funds come as part of $2.2 billion in pandemic education relief that Pennsylvania is set to receive from the second federal stimulus plan passed by Congress in December. They can be used to support food programs, technological improvements and other education services.
“We are at a critical point in the battle against this virus. And that is why it is even more important that we continue to support our schools, teachers, and students as they continue to strive to meet unique and unprecedented challenges associated with this pandemic,” state Senator Carolyn Comitta said.
The estimated allocations for Chester County local education agencies and charter schools through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act’s Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER II) Fund are as follows:
- $1,743,885 for the Avon Grove Area School District.
- $7,056,674 for the Coatesville Area School District.
- $1,212,481 for the Downingtown Area School District.
- $1,216,003 for the Great Valley School District.
- $2,366,021 for the Kennett Consolidated School District.
- $2,262,320 for the Octorara Area School District.
- $3,251,274 for the Oxford Area School District.
- $1,621,337 for the Phoenixville area School District.
- $742,847 for the Tredyffrin Easttown School District.
- $364,546 for the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District.
- $2,165,788 for the West Chester Area School District
- $1,006,352 for Avon Grove Charter School.
- $2,081,383 for Collegium Charter School.
- $670,483 for Renaissance Academy Charter School.
- $665,155 for Achievement House Charter School.
- $2,770,186 for Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School.
School districts and charter schools may use ESSER 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.
“All schools have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and I commend school communities for rising to the challenge to combat the toll it has taken,” said Gov. Tom Wolf. “This extra funding is critical to help schools meet the unique needs of educating students at this time while keeping school buildings safe when students return to the classroom.”
“These funds will provide critical assistance to school communities as they continue to navigate COVID-19,” said Acting Secretary Noe Ortega.
To promote equity, efficiency, transparency, and local flexibility, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) administers the funds through the Federal Title I, Part A formula which considers the number of low-income students served by school districts and charter schools.
PDE has urged school entities to continue to prioritize equity and consider how investments can accelerate opportunities for vulnerable students and families, including those living in deep poverty, students with disabilities, English learners, migrant students, students experiencing homelessness, and children in foster care.
School districts and charter schools must apply to PDE to obtain their allocated funds. The application process will be posted on the PDE website along with a list of ESSER II fund allocations.
Funds must be used by September 2023.
While ESSER II funding is beneficial for ongoing recovery and school reopening efforts, Acting Secretary Ortega noted that additional federal funding is needed to address the crises of the past year.
In addition, Comitta noted that this week the Pennsylvania Senate passed Senate Bill 109, which includes a $150 million grant program to assist non-public schools that have been impacted by the pandemic.
The bill unanimously passed the House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday and is currently before the House.