Big Sky Roundup

Montana Superintendent Arntzen announces federal relief for schools

By: - January 6, 2021 11:55 am

Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen announced Wednesday that the U.S. Department of Education has confirmed Montana will receive around $170 million from the December 2020 congressional funding bill in the form of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds, or ESSER II.

This new COVID-19 relief funding is four times more than the $41,295,230 allocated for Montana schools in the May 2020 Coronavirus Aid, Recovery, and Economic Security Act, according to a release from OPI.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen (Provided by the Office of Public Instruction)

“I quickly worked last spring to make the original relief funding accessible to our local schools as they faced unprecedented safety needs,” Arntzen said in a statement. “These new funds will address and mitigate any learning loss that our students may have experienced. I have continually reached out to Montanans as we collectively seek ways to support our teachers, parents, and students in maintaining a safe, high-quality learning environment.”

The Office of Public Instruction will allocate the new ESSER II funds consistent with the the original ESSER funds through the Title I formula that supports economically disadvantaged students. Montana will receive additional details of terms and conditions within the next three days.

Additional information can be found on the OPI’s COVID-19 webpage.

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Keila Szpaller
Keila Szpaller

Keila Szpaller is deputy editor of the Daily Montanan and covers education. In Montana since 1998, she loves hiking in Glacier National Park, wandering the grounds of the Archie Bray and sitting on her front porch with friends. Before joining States Newsroom Montana, she served as city editor of the Missoulian, the largest news outlet in western Montana. She worked there from 2006 to 2020. As a Missoulian reporter, she was named a co-fellow by the Education Writers Association to report on a series about economic mobility; grantee of the Society of Environmental Journalists for a project on conservation from the U.S. to Africa; and Kiplinger Fellow in Digital Media and Public Affairs Journalism. She previously worked at the Great Falls Tribune and Missoula Independent, and she earned her master’s in journalism from the University of Montana. She lives in Missoula with her husband, Brock, who is also her favorite chef, and her pup, Henry, who is her favorite adventure companion. She believes she deserves to wear the T-shirt with this saying: “World’s most mediocre runner.”