• Good afternoon,

    As part of the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act, I am required to disclose the following information as directed by Commissioner Johnson.

    As you may know, the State of Alaska has received federal COVID-19 relief funding through three acts:

    1. Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act;

    2. Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act; and,

    3. American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act.

    These three acts add up to approximately $504 million available for distribution to Alaska’s school districts for allocation by local school boards to their schools.

    This timeline shows what important dates:

    ARP Timeline

    On May 24, the application will show the exact allocation for Wrangell Public Schools. The business team will begin working on filling it out. We will file the updated Mitigation Plan and Signed Assurances on or before June 23.

    When applying to the Department of Education and Early Development (DEED) for this funding, we are required to sign the application assurances and certification packet. Those assurances form a binding agreement between the district, DEED, and the U.S. Department of Education, to assure that we will meet all legal requirements in accordance with state and federal laws, regulations, and rules. Those assurances apply to program activities and expenditures of funds. Compliance to general and specific program assurances is the legal responsibility of the district under the authorization of our school district board of education and the direction of the superintendent.

    In addition to the application assurances and certification packet, we are required to provide a budget and budget narrative explaining how Wrangell Public Schools intends to spend the federal COVID-19 relief funding. To date, we are including $350,000 of our total funding for supporting social, emotional, and mental support of our students and learning recovery due to the pandemic. In order to minimize the impact when these funds expire, Wrangell Public Schools must wisely invest these one-time funds. Fortunately, our district conducted many sessions on how to spend our funds for FY22 during the budgeting process.

    It is the responsibility of all superintendents to communicate to stakeholders that this approximately $504 million in funding statewide is a one-time addition to district budgets. It is our responsibility to avoid making permanent programmatic commitments with these funds. We have and will continue to communicate clearly to our community the temporary nature of this funding and its intended purpose.

    The most lasting outcome of this money should be safer schools and more successful students.

    As we use the funds to recover from the past year, we will pay careful attention to the U.S. Department of Education’s guidance.Transparency is our friend. All Alaska school boards and superintendents will be held accountable by their communities for the effective use of these welcomed resources.

    As we move forward, it is important to communicate consistently and thoroughly with all stakeholders such as you, the school board, the teachers, the parents, the students, and the entire community about how we intend to spend the funds, our plan for implementation, and our desired outcomes.

    Furthermore, it is important to understand that since these are one-time funds and given the State of Alaska’s current fiscal situation, that we do not anticipate a replacement of these funds with State funding when they expire.

    We have experienced a year of unprecedented challenges. The additional funding for Wrangell Public Schools represents an unprecedented opportunity for our students.

    Thank you for the time you took to read this. We are all in this together and look forward to hearing your input about the remainder of our funds for the FY23 year and beyond.

    A link to the plan can be found at: COVID ARP Plan

    Respectfully yours,

    Bill Burr
    Superintendent - Wrangell Public School District