PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – It’s billions of dollars that will be flooding into our school districts thanks to the American Rescue Plan.
With $300 million coming to Allegheny County, Pittsburgh Public Schools is already making plans for its cut.READ MORE: Man Accused Of Killing Woman In Homewood Pleads Guilty
“Back in March, we were not prepared. That technology divide really slapped us in the face,” said Minika Jenkins, the PPS chief academic officer.
With the first round of federal funding for schools, Pittsburgh Public Schools upgraded its WiFi and provided Chromebooks to all students. This next wave of help could be arriving as early as July.
“It’s going to be monthly payments that we think are going to start maybe around July and go through 2024,” said Congressman Mike Doyle.READ MORE: Lawsuit: Company Owned By West Virginia Governor Jim Justice Owes $166,000
The American Rescue Plan will provide the district with roughly $122 million and a mandate that 20 percent must be used for learning loss from the pandemic.
“Our bread and butter, when it comes to our district, is educating its students, it’s student achievement. And right now, some of our kids are lacking, I’m just being transparent. We have some who are accessing online learning great and some who are doing terrible and they need support,” said PPS Superintendent Dr. Anthony Hamlet.
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 said more than 20 percent will be allocated to this topic.
“We try to provide flexibility because every school district is different on what their needs are and building facilities are. But the one thing we think is constant throughout the whole thing is that we know in every school district that there will be students at different levels than others when they come back,” Rep. Doyle said.MORE NEWS: Businesses Hope Partial Closure Of Fort Duquesne Boulevard Will Breathe Life Back Into Downtown
KDKA did ask Hamlet if this funding could go to help the transportation issues in the district. He said it’s something the district could consider, but the focus right now is support since these are one-time dollars, whereas transportation could be a recurring issue that would need to come from the general fund.