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Saint Paul Public Schools Receives Final Approval for American Rescue Plan

State approves district’s plan for spending nearly $207 million in federal funds 

November 8, 2021 (Saint Paul, Minn.) -- Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS) received final approval from the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) on the district’s plan for spending $207 million in federal funds to safely reopen schools and address long-term student outcomes that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The American Plan (ARP) is the last and largest federal funding allotment that SPPS is receiving as a result of the pandemic. 

Based on the federal requirements, funding priorities from the MDE and the district’s own needs assessment, SPPS is planning to spend these one-time federal funds on the following strategies:

  • High-Quality Education ($90.4 million) - includes direct funding for schools; 1-2 teachers at every K-8 school to focus on reading; more summer and afterschool programs; and college and career readiness programs

  • Safe Schools ($64.6 million) - building maintenance and cleaning, meal service, school health staff, transportation, COVID-related supplies and contingency funds to support safe operations

  • Targeted Student Services ($11.5 million) - added support for students in special education, multilingual learners, American Indian students and others most impacted by the pandemic

  • Family Services and Community Partnerships ($10.9 million) - partnerships with nonprofit organizations, city/county agencies and other community partners to provide student services; funding for multilingual family services

  • Systemic Equity ($9.7 million) - creation of a district equity plan; recruitment and retention of teachers of color; culturally responsive instruction and equity training for all staff

  • Mental Health and Social Emotional Learning ($8.1 million) - additional counselors and social workers at schools; mental health support for students and staff

  • Operational Expenses ($11.7 million) - necessary expenses to support the above initiatives, including staffing, equipment and progress monitoring

"Funding from the American Rescue Plan is allowing Saint Paul Public Schools to operate safely while we work to build a foundation for the future of our district," says Superintendent Joe Gothard. "As this important work gets underway, we are committed to monitoring our progress and being nimble enough to ensure this one-time funding is being used to equitably improve long-term student outcomes." 

The district’s final ARP spending plan is available here and on the ARP website. Each strategy was reviewed by an internal workgroup of 27 district staff members, principals, department leaders and teachers, with input from a 13-member community advisory committee. In addition, the district received over 11,000 responses from a wide range of stakeholders earlier this year as part of a comprehensive needs assessment. Community feedback was also used to adjust the final plan, including increasing the district’s investments in systemic equity and social emotional learning. 

SPPS will provide updates about how this work is impacting long-term student outcomes on a regular basis. For more information, including federal funding allotments, timelines and spending requirements, visit