Last week, brightbeam activist Khulia Pringle hosted a town hall featuring Minneapolis Public Schools Superintendent Ed Graff and school board members, Adriana Cerrillo (brightbeam activist) and Sharon El-Amin. The town hall sought to get transparency from the district on how federal funding from the American Rescue Plan will be distributed throughout Minneapolis Public Schools.
You might have heard the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) referred to as the “second big COVID stimulus” and/or the education funding more specifically referred to as the “Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER).” Whatever name you know it by, “this is the biggest federal funding boost ever for schools, allotting $125 billion to K-12 school districts and state education departments.” (You can check out this ARPA explainer to learn more.)
Minneapolis Public Schools has been allocated a total of 249.2 million dollars in federal funding (which you can see in the chart below). However, the town hall focused on the third wave of money, ESSER III, totaling 159.5 million.
Well-attended, parents came ripe with questions for Superintendent Ed Graff and school board members—ranging from wanting full disclosure on where and how the previous ESSER I and II have been spent to what will instruction and learning look like for kids who are behind? As part of the guidelines, districts are to use 20% of ARPA funds to directly address learning loss, which many parents were concerned about, recommending building out and supporting after school programs that could help with learning loss.
Other concerns parents addressed were about literacy, assessments and if the funding would help support a new city initiative, Stable Schools Stable Homes.
Activists Khulia Pringle has been selected to serve on the MPS American Rescue Plan Stakeholder Committee and plans to take recommendations from families and submit them to the district as they plan to spend the third installment of federal relief funding.