The American Rescue Plan brought over $190 billion federal stimulus dollars to districts across the country with $4.9 billion already available in Georgia and more coming soon. These dollars are earmarked to be spent on recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and will be a critical resource for Georgia’s students as they rebound from an unprecedented 18 months of disruption and the learning loss that accompanied it.
At GeorgiaCAN we believe it is crucial that schools are transparent about how these funds are being spent, line-by-line and dollar-for-dollar, to ensure that students receive the support they so desperately need. These funds can provide critical services and proven strategies like high-dosage tutoring and extra instructional time.
Given the importance of providing clarity around this spending information to parents, GeorgiaCAN reviewed every district plan that had been submitted to the Georgia Department of Education. We assembled all the information into a spreadsheet for families to see how districts are making sure students get the education they need and, more importantly, deserve.View Georgia American Rescue Plans Spreadsheet
We tracked which districts were allocating funding to such things as class-size reduction, extended school day and extended school year, high-frequency tutoring, summer programming and virtual learning. We also examined whether districts offered other options and how much is being used to specifically address student learning loss. While most districts will update their plans in six months, it’s important to note what they’re doing now – during a fall that will be critical for students’ long-term learning trajectories.
What we found is districts vary widely in how they’re addressing this momentous moment in education — some are setting aside 70% for learning loss recovery, many are offering a wide variety of options to close the education gap caused by the pandemic and others have doubled down on summer camps and after-school enrichment. However many other districts are spending as little as 20% on learning loss, the minimum required by federal law.
We hope this consolidated information provides families and observers with a better look at how these federal dollars are being spent. The public deserves to know this information — and more, honestly — in order to adequately evaluate the district’s spending priorities at this critical time. It is unlikely we will ever have an opportunity again where dollars of this magnitude are available to support the education of our students. Decisions regarding how this money is spent will have a lasting impact. We hope our work provides an easy-to-read and comparable format that will offer new insights to families across the state.