McNeill: Area school districts to receive over $50 million in federal funding to support in-person learning

HARRISBURG, March 31 – State Rep. Jeanne McNeill, D-Lehigh, today announced four school districts and two charter schools in the 133rd  Legislative District are expected to receive federal funding totaling $50.72 million to help students return to the classrooms.

“One of the biggest priorities as we continue fighting COVID-19 is ensuring the safety of students and faculty when returning to school,” McNeill said. “With depleted budgets, school districts need this critical funding to have programs and resources ready to get students back in their classrooms safely and provide additional support to students who may have fallen behind.”    

 McNeill said the breakdown of the federal funding for schools in the 133rd District is as follows:

  • Bethlehem Area School District - $32.12 million.
  • Catasauqua Area School District - $4.19 million.
  • Salisbury Township School District - $3.48 million.
  • Whitehall-Coplay School District - $7.18 million.
  • Innovate Arts Academy Charter School - $2.74 million.
  • Arts Academy Charter School - $1.01 million.

The funding is part of the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund passed by Congress and signed by President Joe Biden. The money can be used for food service; professional training; technology purchases; sanitization and cleaning supplies; summer and after-school programs; mental health supports and more.

At least 20% of this money is meant to address learning loss and the social, emotional, and academic needs of underrepresented students, including students from low-income families, students with disabilities, students experiencing homelessness, and more.

School districts and charter schools must apply to the Pennsylvania Department of Education to receive their share of the money set aside. The application process will be posted on the PDE website. Funds must be used by September 2024.