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Montana schools get $127 million to address virus fallout

August 5, 2021 GMT

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Education on Thursday approved Montana’s plan to use federal coronavirus relief funds, distributing $127 million to the state’s K-12 schools.

The most recent round of funding is the third and last delivering the $382 million allocated to Montana schools through the federal American Rescue Plan. Montana’s plan is one of 22 state plans approved by the U.S. Department of Education.

Montana’s Office of Public Instruction will allocate funds to school districts to identify and help students whose learning was affected by the pandemic.

Local school districts can receive funds by submitting plans to assist those students, such as through afterschool or summer school programs.

The Office of Public Instruction is also partnering with community organizations including the YMCA, Boys and Girls Clubs and local libraries.

The funding will support student enrichment program, including the state’s first student film festival in the summer of 2022.

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Some funds will be used to support students’ and educators’ mental health by hiring additional counselors and providing other services.

“When our school doors open here in Montana this month, we’re looking forward to as normal a school year as possible,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen said in a statement.

She added: “Our plan allows school administrators and teachers to use these funds wisely to promote innovation in the classroom and enhance learning opportunities for our students, without sacrificing an ounce of accountability.”

The funding comes on top of $32 million given to schools for coronavirus testing.