BOISE - The U.S. Department of Education on Monday announced the approval of Idaho’s American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) plan and distributed remaining funds. Idaho’s plan details how the state is using and plans to use ARP ESSER funds to safely reopen and sustain the safe operation of schools and equitably expand opportunity for students who need it most, particularly those most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, say officials.

Earlier this year, the Department distributed two-thirds of the ARP ESSER funds, totaling $81 billion, to 50 states and the District of Columbia. The remaining third of the funding to states will be made available once state plans are approved. Idaho is receiving $440 million total in ARP ESSER funds, and Monday’s approval will result in the release of the final $146 million.

“I am pleased that Idaho’s plan has been approved by the U.S. Department of Education. The plan will ensure that our schools and districts receive the funding they need to address unfinished learning, behavioral health challenges and other impacts from the pandemic,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra said. “Throughout this process, we’ve placed high priority on giving districts and schools both the resources and flexibility to address local needs, as well as assistance identifying and engaging the students most impacted by the pandemic so that we can get them back on track.”

“We are very pleased that the U.S. Department of Education has approved our ARP ESSER plan, freeing up an additional $146 million to help Idaho address the statewide problem of unfinished learning as a result of the pandemic,” said Kurt Liebich, president, Idaho State Board of Education. “I’d like to thank Superintendent Ybarra and the teams both at the State Department of Education and the State Board of Education for their work and collaboration on developing the Idaho plan that meets requirements set forth by the U.S. Department of Education. Idaho joins 36 other states with approved plans. The Board and the State Department are focused on

three priorities: K-4 literacy, grades 5-9 math, and credit recovery for high school students. We look forward to working with school districts and charter schools as they work to develop their local plans and put them into action. These federal resources will go a long way in helping our students recover what they lost because of the massive disruption the pandemic caused to our education system.”