Graphic reading: KDE News, Kentucky Department of Education

The U.S. Department of Education (USED) has approved the Kentucky Department of Education’s (KDE’s) American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (APR ESSER) plan.

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) – which included more than $2 billion for Kentucky public schools – authorized a third ESSER Fund, ARP ESSER. Kentucky previously received two-thirds of that funding in March and the remaining amount was released upon approval of the state plan.

“I am excited to announce approval of Kentucky’s plan,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “It is heartening to see, reflected in these state plans, the ways in which states are thinking deeply about how to use American Rescue Plan funds to continue to provide critical support to schools and communities, particularly as we move into the summer and look ahead to the upcoming academic year.”

The plan sets priorities to ensure that every student has access to a high-quality, well-rounded education and to expand social-emotional learning programs and mental health efforts in all schools. The plan includes the safe reopening and operation of in-person learning in 2021, addresses the impact of lost instructional time and KDE’s support for students and educators’ social, emotional and mental health.

“I am grateful for the approval of Kentucky’s ARP ESSER plan,” said KDE’s Commissioner of Education Jason E. Glass. “This plan will assist in the safe reopening and in-person operation of our schools, while addressing not only the academic needs of our students, but their social, emotional and mental health needs as well. Instead of returning to the traditional way of doing things, our priority is to return to a better than normal school year.”

An overview of Kentucky’s ARP ESSER plan can be found on USED’s website.