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South Dakota’s plan for American Rescue Plan funds approved

Published: Jul. 7, 2021 at 6:59 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 7, 2021 at 7:10 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Earlier this year, the Department Of Education distributed two-thirds of the American Rescue Plan funds totaling $81 billion across 50 states.

The remaining third of the funding to states is made available once state plans are approved. South Dakota is receiving more than $381 million in total funds, and Wednesday’s approval of their plan will result in the release of the final $127 million.

Officials say South Dakota’s plan details how the state will use the funds to re-engage students across the state and expand opportunities for those who need it most, particularly those impacted by the covid-19 pandemic.

“Districts know how much they have coming to them in terms of funding so they are going through a process planning how they will spend their funds,” said South Dakota Department of Education deputy secretary Mary Stadick Smith.

There is a requirement that local school districts need to spend 20% of their allocation to address any learning loss as a result of the pandemic.

The Sioux Falls School District has already begun using the funds they received to help students of all ages.

“The funding was used to help the students’ academic, social and emotional needs,” said Director of Federal programs for the Sioux Falls School District Kirk Zeeck.

The state’s plan identified 3 main areas in which they will use the funds including having a large focus on students and teachers suffering from mental health issues, catching up students who fell behind during the pandemic and hiring and retaining new teachers.

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