These Indiana Schools To Get The Maximum Stimulus Fund Per Student



Principals at Thea Bowman Leadership Academy dream of offering everything from daily small-group tutoring sessions to safer classrooms next year, as they begin responding to missed instructions by students during the pandemic. And, this time, they have the resources to make it happen.

The Indiana charter school is expected to receive more than $ 14,000 per student from the nation’s third stimulus package – most of all schools in the state.

Schools with very poor students, among the campuses hardest hit by COVID-19, will receive the most per student in federal aid. In Indiana, the top five districts and charter schools that are expected to receive the most money per student – and many more at the top of this list – are in Gary, where deindustrialization has led to economic decline, a population loss and neglect. For some schools, federal money could almost double their typical annual state funding.

For Thea Bowman, a Phalen Leadership Academies school in Gary, the stimulus funds are even more of a boon. The school typically receives around $ 7,000 per student in public funding. The unprecedented increase in federal money has prompted the Charter Network to solicit ideas on how to spend it with students, teachers and families.

“This is a massive influx of funds for our schools and for our [students] and obviously we want to use it to have the greatest impact possible, ”said Earl Martin Phalen, CEO and founder of the Phalen charter network. “We are incredibly excited.”

Nationwide, $ 130 billion will be directed to K-12 schools under President Biden American rescue plan. Indiana will receive $ 1.8 billion for schools, most of which will be allocated to districts and charters based on a measure of poverty. On average, the package will send schools $ 2,500 per student, but about 90 public districts and charter networks in Indiana are expected to receive more.

This follows two other federal stimulus packages, which have helped districts cover unforeseen costs such as the purchase of devices and internet access points caused by the sudden switch to distance learning.

Most schools in Indiana have yet to finalize their spending plans. There is more flexibility this cycle, allowing schools to spend on mental health services, cleaning supplies, summer programs, educational technology, and building upgrades that reduce the risk of exposure to COVID- 19. However, at least 20% of the money must be used to remedy the learning loss.

Gary Community Schools, which serves a city with one of the highest poverty rates in the state, is expected to receive $ 9,814 per student. The district will prioritize additional enrichment activities and upgrading facilities, Emergency Manager Paige McNulty said in an email.

Summer programs and restorative justice training for staff in partnership with the Gary Police Department are also on the priority list. Final plans will need to be approved by the state, which took control of the district in 2017.

The Aspire Charter Academy, which is also in Gary, is expected to receive $ 13,216 per student, which is $ 5,000 more per student than it received from the state for 2019-2020. The school declined an interview, but said in a statement it would use the money to meet “immediate needs” and then focus on supporting staff and implementing programs to address any loss of life. ‘learning.

Phalen said schools in his network, including Thea Bowman, would prioritize new programs – such as summer school or daily small-group tutoring – that improve air quality, purchase a new curriculum and adding mental health resources for students and families.

Another school in the network, the James & Rosemary Phalen Leadership Academy in Indianapolis, is also among the top recipients in the state, which is expected to receive $ 8,971 per student. Phalen said it could help support the free school workforce development program for adults, which was launched earlier this year in response to soaring unemployment caused by the pandemic.

Final decisions will not be made for 60-90 days as schools continue to seek the views of their communities. But even with all the extra support, Phalen said it could take years to get students back on track in their learning. He hopes that with this one-time flow of federal funds, schools will prove that they can improve student outcomes when they receive additional funding, which strengthens any future demand for additional funding.

“What a blessing to have such an infusion of resources,” said Phalen. “Having the ability to do the things we dream of doing with our students and staff.”


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