Thank you for all the work you’re doing on behalf of Texas students! We have an important request regarding federal education stimulus dollars. As you know, with the passage of the American Rescue Plan, the total amount of federal COVID relief funds being sent to Texas public schools will surpass $19 billion. State leaders used the first $1.3 billion to fill other budget holes last summer, but $17.9 billion from the second and third rounds of federal stimulus remains on the table. However, it is not guaranteed that all of these dollars will make it to school districts, or even to public education at all — despite the intent of federal lawmakers.
TASA and Raise Your Hand Texas are working together to ensure state leaders know that federal dollars are needed in school districts now — and that district leaders have a plan for how those dollars could be meaningfully and responsibly spent. During a recent round of meetings with key legislators, we found that brief, locally developed documents outlining districts’ plans for federal funds were the best received tool we had to make this case.
Several of your colleagues from around the state put together these plans for their districts. We’re asking you to do the same. We’ve created a template to make the process easy; customized district documents are welcome as well.
- Check this document to see how much your district is eligible to receive from the second and third rounds of federal stimulus. Add those two numbers together to get your federal stimulus total. Please note: This is how much your district is ELIGIBLE to receive under federal guidelines, not how much your district is guaranteed to receive. We are drafting these plans to demonstrate to lawmakers that these funds are needed, and that school leaders have a vision for putting them to good use.
- Outline your spending plan using this template (download the Word doc or a PDF version), or create your own. Check out the sample plans for inspiration. We suggest keeping these plans to 1-2 pages. We want lawmakers to have a clear picture of how funds would be spent, without overwhelming them.
- Identify one-time expenditures (e.g., facilities improvements) as well as annual costs. Federal funds will need to be spent within a defined time period, so multiply annual costs by three years to get a reasonable estimate of totals for these costs. Add this annual cost total to your one-time expenditures to come up with a total dollar estimate for your spending plan.
- Email a copy of your plan to your state representative and senator. Offer to talk your elected officials through your plan so that they have a clear sense of your intentions, the particular challenges facing your district, and an opportunity to ask questions. Please also share a copy of your plan with TASA (email it to firstname.lastname@example.org).
Active-level TASA members, also please plan to join us at 4 p.m., Thursday, April 1, for a special TASA Live Virtual Event focused on this issue. Watch for details in TASA Daily and an email invitation with a link to register for the event.
Thank you for your contributions. Significant funding resources are available to help our districts recover and rebound from the pandemic; speaking together with a unified voice gives us the best possible shot at making sure those resources reach our students.
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