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Sen. Jon Ossoff meets with school leaders to discuss American Rescue Plan funding

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Sen. Jon Ossoff meets with school leaders to discuss American Rescue Plan funding

Sen. Jon Ossoff met with metro Atlanta school leaders on Monday, June 14, at the Clayton County Public Schools Performing Arts Center to discuss the American Rescue Plan school funding. School officials included the superintendents from Atlanta Public Schools and City Schools of Decatur and the associate superintendent of accountability for DeKalb County Schools. Photo by Zoe Seiler.

Clayton County, GA — Senator Jon Ossoff met with metro Atlanta school officials on Monday, June 14, at the Clayton County Public Schools Performing Arts Center to discuss funding from the American Rescue Plan that has been allocated to schools and how districts plan to spend those funds.

Over $4 billion has been allocated to public school districts in Georgia and over $1.5 billion will go to metro Atlanta Schools.

Atlanta Public Schools will receive $193 million, City Schools of Decatur will get $2.5 million and DeKalb County Schools has been allocated $320.6 million.

Ossoff and school leaders, including APS Superintendent Dr. Lisa Herring, said that all metro school districts are committed to returning to in-person learning in the fall and the funding will help them do so.

Some districts have already started welcoming students back in person this summer, Herring said.

“It is because of the funding that we’ve been able to utilize that has allowed for us to do this effectively and necessarily to ensure that our students are well,” Herring said. “We’ve utilized those funds for things such as wellness and intervention needs, social emotional wellness for not just our students, but for our staff as well, and as we’ve recognized disrupted learning, we’ve also been intentional around investing our resources towards the areas of literacy and numeracy.”

She also acknowledged the benefit and need of the school district for the federal funding.

“We want to emphasize that that doesn’t go away,” Herring said. “Public education is not only an intentional and well deserved investment, but it pays off well beyond when our scholars leave us. So we are encouraged, we remain steadfast and we look forward to the fall when our doors are open and our scholars are in and our families will be back with us.”

This past school year was a challenge for students, parents and teachers with partial school closures and virtual learning.

“That’s why it is such a pleasure to join with these extraordinary leaders and announce today that thanks to the federal funds coming through the American Rescue Plan passed by Congress and signed by President Biden, every single school district in metro Atlanta is preparing for full returns to in-person learning this fall to relieve families of the burden of partial school closures,” Ossoff said.

“Not only are these extraordinary leaders preparing full for a full return to in-person learning, with these federal funds they’re investing in new opportunities, new programs, extracurricular learning, early childhood education, mental health services, and other vital programs that will help our kids rebound after this difficult year, and make this upcoming school year the best in our community’s history,” he added.

The school districts have discretion and flexibility in terms of how they will spend the funds, Ossoff said.

“But as I was briefed today on how those funds are going to be used, I heard a consistent focus on screening as students re-enter full in person education to determine what their needs may be after a year of partial loss of in-person learning,” Ossoff said. “[I] heard a lot of emphasis on adding mental health and physical health capacity to schools, supporting and bringing on additional teaching resources, extracurriculars, summer programs.”

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