Menands UFSD ARP Funding Plan
The 2021-22 enacted state budget includes language requiring local education agencies, such as school districts, that receive funding from the Federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund allocated by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP-ESSER) to post on its website a plan by school year of how these funds will be spent.
New York has been allocated nearly $9 billion in ARP-ESSER funds, with a minimum of $8.09 billion (90 percent) going to local education agencies, including public schools. Menands UFSD has been allocated $802.041.
Districts are also required to prioritize spending on non-recurring expenses in the following areas:
- Safely returning students to in-person instruction;
- Maximizing in-person instruction time;
- Operating schools and meeting the needs of students;
- Purchasing educational technology;
- Addressing the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on students, including the impacts of interrupted instruction and learning loss and the impacts on
low-income students, children with disabilities, English language learners, and students experiencing homelessness;
- Implementing evidence-based strategies to meet students’ social, emotional, mental health, and academic needs;
- Offering evidence-based summer, afterschool, and other extended learning and enrichment programs; and
- Supporting early childhood education.
In addition, districts must identify programs and services that will continue beyond the availability of these federal funds and how local funds will be used moving forward in order to minimize disruption to core academic and other school programs. The following areas have been identified for funding allocation based on public input.
Category 1: Safely returning students to in-person instruction
Plan Summary & Goals: Throughout the pandemic and into the future, the health, safety, and well-being of our students, staff, and families are a primary priority. This has been the case during our reopening plans, and continues to remain a priority. As a public school system, it was essential that we adhered to the CDC and NYS guidelines as we reopened our buildings in September 2020, and to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and ensure safe and healthy workspaces for the health and welfare of all staff and students.
During the 2021-22 school year, funds were used for non-recurring cost of a staff member to monitor visitors to the building and insure physical distancing, as well as the cost of additional cafeteria staff required to feed students in a physically distanced environment. These costs were carried over to the 2022-23 school year, along with an enhanced PA and emergency communication system. Not knowing the ongoing need to implement distancing and other protocols, the cost of the monitor and cafeteria staff were also included in the 23-24 budget. It was the expectation by the following year the need for these positions would no longer be required, and the safety upgrades are a onetime expense.
Category 2: Maximizing in-person instruction time
Plan Summary & Goals: One of the key things that the pandemic validated was that school is much more than just academics and learning. Our school buildings serve as a social environment for students to interact with peers and develop their own social and emotional capacities.
Additionally, many of our students experienced learning loss as a result of the pandemic, requiring additional academic supports.
Funds were used in 2021-22 for the non-recurring expenses of an additional AIS teacher, specifically in the area of math, as well as for a building substitute to provide coverage in the case of COVID absences and for coverage for professional development. These same funds were budgeted for the 2022-23 and 2023-24 school years, with the expectation that students would close the gap in the three year period.
Category 5: Addressing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on all students, including low-income students, students with disabilities, English language learners, and students experiencing homelessness.
Plan Summary & Goals: Menands is committed to continuing to addresses the impact of COVID-19 for all of our students, and especially our neediest and most vulnerable populations.
Funds were used in 2021-2022, and budgeted for the remaining years to provide professional development for Envision Math and Wilson Reading. That cost will sunset as all staff will have received adequate training by the end of the grant cycle.
Category 6: Implementing evidence-based strategies to meet students’ social, emotional, mental health, and academic needs.
Plan Summary & Goals: As a result of the pandemic, our students have seen a decline in social interactions as a result of remote instruction and multiple quarantines. This has caused social and emotional needs for our students, and made it clear that rectifying this is a priority. To address this the district has committed to full staff training and implementation of Responsive Classroom. All staff will be trained and the program implement by the end of the grant cycle.
Category 7: Oﬀering evidence-based summer, afterschool, and other extended learning and enrichment programs.
Plan Summary & Goals: The pandemic caused our students to lose many opportunities and curtailed access to instruction and learning. We have committed summer opportunities, beyond what is typical to help our students with learning loss.
Funds will be used to support increased summer programs each summer of the grant cycle, at which time we are confident students will have closed the gap and we can return to pre-COVID levels of summer programming.