On the same day that the Governor signed, sealed, and delivered the omnibus education funding and policy bill, he also released his plan for disbursing nearly $132 million in Federal aid that was passed through to the state as part of the American Rescue Plan, the third (and my guess final) Federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a refresher, the $132 million is the 9.5% of the initial state allocation that remains after 90% of the revenue was distributed to school districts based on their Title I numbers. The Minnesota Department of Education retains 0.5% of the allotment to administer the program as outlined by Federal law.
The breakdown of the Governor’s plan (this isn’t a proposal, because the revenue is at his disposal–that rhymes!):
- $66 million will be distributed to public schools to support students using evidence-based strategies.
- $13.2 million will be dedicated to Ignite Afterschool to provide grants for evidence-based after-school programs. 50% of the funds must go to community-based programs.
- $13.2 million will be dedicated to summer enrichment allocated through grants with 50% going to community-based programs.
- $26 million will go a variety of grant programs including full-service community schools, expansion of rigorous coursework, training for non-exclusionary discipline strategies, funding for Life Skills/Transition programs for students receiving special education, and other initiatives.
- $13.6 million will be dedicated to building and reinforcing systems and structures with the Minnesota Department of Education to better support students, families, and educators.
It is a very ambitious program and dovetails with the overall general support that school districts received in the omnibus education funding and policy bill. The thing that jumps out at me is that many of the Governor’s initiatives that fell by the wayside during the negotiations to construct the final omnibus education funding and policy bill will find their way to students through this effort. It appears that something akin to Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS), which promotes the use of evidence-based strategies to meet student needs in a comprehensive manner will be part of this plan.
Here is a link to the press released announcing the plan. There are links at the bottom of the release for further information.