American Rescue Plan allocates $3.8 million to Greencastle-Antrim School District

Shawn Hardy
Echo Pilot

The Greencastle-Antrim School District will take a hard look at how to spend $3.8 million in federal funding related to the COVID-19 pandemic, keeping in mind that it 1is one-time money that can't be counted on for recurring expenses.

The federal aid stems from the passing of The American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act of 2021, aimed at helping get students back in classrooms and addressing learning loss and challenges of equity.

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More than $4.9 billion in emergency funding is heading to Pennsylvania K-12 public and charter schools, state leaders announced Monday.

The amount each district will receive is proportional to the federal Title I-A funds received in 2020 under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The bigger checks are slated to go to districts with a higher percentage of low-income families.

In addition to the $3.8 million earmarked for the G-ASD, Franklin County allocations include Chambersburg, $22.6 million; Waynesboro, $10.7 million; Tuscarora: $4.1 million; and Fannett-Metal: $2.9 million.

Spending plans

"We are working to develop a plan that will help us move forward," said Dr. Lura Hanks, G-A superintendent. "We have to be cautious, as this money is for one-time expenses and must be carefully used to help us sustain our programs, assist students with learning gaps and keep our buildings operating in a way that we can open full throttle safely! 

Dr. Lura Hanks, G-A superintendent

"We will be looking at all potential possibilities and incorporate many in the decision-making process," she continued. "It is an exciting time, but we have to tread carefully so that we set ourselves up for long-term success, rather than assume costs that are not sustainable."

Districts must use 20 percent of what they receive on their neediest population, addressing "learning loss and the social, emotional, and academic needs of underrepresented students, including students from low-income families, students with disabilities, English learners, migrant students, students experiencing homelessness, and children in foster care."

The rest of the funding can be used for other activities such as food service, training, technology, sanitation, after-school programs and mental health support, and other priorities.

Posters like this one remind Greencastle-Antrim students about COVID-19 health and safety precautions.

“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.”

"Our school communities need these additional resources to invest in instructional materials, equipment, facilities, transportation and more, and we are pleased to make these funds available to them,” said Noe Ortega, acting Pennsylvania education secretary. “These funds will provide more assistance to school communities as we continue to navigate the pandemic.”

Schools still have to apply for their allocated funds and then spend them by Sept. 24, 2024.

Other funding

The ARP Act money is the latest funding to assist schools during the pandemic. G-A also has received ESSER (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund), COVID-19 Safety and Security and CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act broadband grants.

Carter Statler, left and Maclane Gingrich masked up during an outdoor study session on March 11. Students in Jessica Enderlin's fourth-grade class at Greencastle-Antrim Elementary, they used their iPads leased with grant funding associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than $1 million has been used on technology, including leases to provide iPads to every student in kindergarten through eighth grade. Middle school students received their devices in October and younger students got theirs earlier this year. High school students received iPads pre-COVID in January 2020 as the district started rolling out its Equal Technology Opportunities initiative

Uses also have included health, safety, security, instruction and transportation expenses related to COVID-19.

Marion Callahan of the Bucks County Courier Times contributed to this story.