October 8, 2021

USED Approves Michigan’s Education Plan for American Recovery Plan Funding

Michigan Department of Education Press Release LANSING – The United States Department of Education (USED) approved Michigan’s education plan for the federal American Recovery Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP-ESSER) funding, freeing up $1.24 billion for Michigan schools, according to the Michigan Department of Education. 

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona approved the plan that will complete the allocation of $3.72 billion in federal ARP funds to Michigan. Nearly $2.5 billion was released to Michigan in March and the remainder released today with the approval of Michigan’s ARP ESSER plan.

“This investment in Michigan’s schools will help our kids thrive and ensure teachers and staff have the resources and support they need,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “I am grateful to Senators Stabenow and Peters, along with all of the Democratic members of Michigan’s congressional delegation, for working to pass this funding in the American Rescue Plan, which we included in the education funding bill I signed earlier this summer making the largest K-12 investment in state history without raising taxes. That bill closed the funding gap between schools in Michigan and delivered critical mental health resources. Together, we can continue putting Michiganders first and get things done that make a real difference in their lives.” 

State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice said, “Our state ARP plan will help Michigan students better rebound from the disrupted learning that they experienced during the past year. I am very pleased that Secretary Cardona and the U.S. Department of Education approved our state plan and released the remaining $1.24 billion in federal funds for Michigan schools to improve our schools in myriad ways for children.” 

These funds reimburse school districts to support safe, in-person instruction and meet the social, emotional, mental health, and academic needs of students—with a focus on the students most impacted by the pandemic. 

The approval of Michigan’s ARP plan will allow for the use of $363 million in state equalization payments appropriated to districts that did not receive $1,093 per pupil in their ARP ESSER formula allocation. That formula allocates 90 percent of the ARP ESSER funds based upon federal Title I, Part A distributions defined in federal law. 

Michigan’s plan includes:

  • Returning to In-Person Learning in 2021: All traditional public school districts are operating predominantly in-person this year, and all students have access to in-person learning.
  • Safely Reopening Schools and Sustaining Safe Operations: MDE has promoted collaborative partnerships between districts and local health departments to conduct vaccination clinics. In partnership with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), the MI Safe Schools Testing Program supports schools in providing COVID-19 testing to allow for safe, in-person learning. MDHHS is providing over $24 million in additional federal funding to school districts and local public health departments to hire 220 Health Resource Advocates to effectively support school-based COVID-19 testing and reporting. 
  • Addressing the Academic Impact of Lost Instructional Time and Expanding Summer and Afterschool Programs: School districts that receive state reserve funds will select evidence-based interventions that address the academic and social-emotional needs of their student populations that are most impacted by the pandemic. Districts will complete additional budget information and documentation on how they will use ARP ESSER funds for students disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

Local school districts will have until 2024 to use their allocated funds and will submit their plans for the use of the funds to MDE by December 14, 2021.