PPS To Receive Funding From American Rescue Plan

It's billions of dollars that will be flooding into our school districts thanks to the American Rescue Plan. KDKA's Nicole Ford has more.

Video Transcript

- It is a windfall for Pittsburgh Public Schools. Federal money from the American Rescue Plan will assist the district and other districts across the country. So what are the local plans for that funding? Nicole Ford is live now with some answers, Pittsburgh Public School Leaders. Nicole.

NICOLE FORD: Stacy, with this most recent round of federal funding, Pittsburgh Public Schools is set to receive $122 million. Now, that first check is expected to arrive in July. So what is the big plan on what they're going to do with that money? Well, district leaders tell me a big chunk is going to address learning loss due to the pandemic.

Some students may be back.

- Now, does that line have a dimension?

NICOLE FORD: But teachers are still teaching students at home.

MINIKA JENKINS: Back in March, we were not prepared. The technology divide really slapped us in the face.

NICOLE FORD: With the first round of federal funding for schools, Pittsburgh Public was able to upgrade Wi-Fi and provide Chromebooks to all of their students. Now, there's another wave of help on the way.

MIKE DOYLE: It's going to be monthly payments that we think are going to start maybe around July and go through 2024.

NICOLE FORD: The American Rescue Plan will provide the district with roughly $122 million and a mandate that 20% must be used for learning loss.

ANTHONY HAMLET: And our bread and butter when it comes to a district is educating its students. It's student achievement. And right now, some of our kids are lacking. I'm just being transparent. You have some that are accessing online learning great and some that are doing terrible. And they need support.

NICOLE FORD: How do you address that divide is the question. Right now, the district plans to utilize community partners on how best to help students. Those leaders know this is an issue that will impact students for years to come, which is why Hamlet says more than 20% will be allocated to this topic.

MIKE DOYLE: We tried to provide flexibility. Because every school district's different in what their needs are, with their building facilities are, and that. But the one thing we think is constant throughout the whole thing is that we know in every school district that there's going to be some students that are at different levels than others as they come back.

NICOLE FORD: I did ask Dr. Hamlet if this funding could go to help the district's transportation issues. He says it's something they could consider. But right now, they're focusing on support. Because this is a one-time funding whereas transportation could be a more recurring expense over the years, which would mean that it would need to come out of the general fund. Reporting live at West Liberty Elementary School, Nicole Ford, KDKA News.