How local leaders plan to spend Rescue Act money

School districts to adapt to a year of learning disruption
Posted at 7:28 PM, Mar 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-22 22:28:21-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Local leaders are talking about how they plan to use their share of the $1.9 trillion from the American Rescue Act Congressman Raul Grijalva hosted a news conference Monday where governments and school districts outlined their plans.

Grijalva says the Rescue Act is written to send money where it will help people quickly. Governments will not be able to hold money for things like financing tax cuts or funding pension plans.

Tohono O'odham Chairperson Ned Norris says he’s planning to use the Federal assistance to pay for essential services like health care, squeezed when the pandemic curtailed casinos.

“Our tribal nation had to basically shut down its operation. We've had to shut down our money making industry, the gaming enterprises that feed the nation the revenue that it needs in order to operate. We've had to shut that operation down for a period of time. So, in essence, there was a long period of time when the nation wasn't generating revenues in order to continue its own survival.

TUSD superintendent Gabriel Trujillo says he will look to expand technology to make sure all students have computers and internet access, and work toward COVID safety by improving school ventilation systems.

But he says the most important spending will be to recover from the academic effect of the pandemic.

“Making sure that we're providing academic recovery for learning gaps that have become more pronounced during this year in which students have been relegated to remote instruction and we want to attack it through academic recovery efforts in literacy and numeracy or math education during the school day, beyond the school day and beyond the school year.

Sunnyside Superintendent Steve Holmes says it may take three years to recover academically from a year of instruction disrupted by COVID. He expects to devote money to academics and also to updating aging computers already issued to Sunnyside students.