Cleveland mayor proposes ARPA funding for education, workforce development
Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb will introduce a $40 million American Rescue Plan Act funding proposal to Cleveland City Council tonight (Monday) that mostly addresses issues related to education and workforce development.
Bibb called the proposals, the latest round in the city's $500 million-plus share of pandemic relief dollars, a once-in-a-lifetime investment in Cleveland’s future in a news release Monday afternoon.
“The pandemic has been hard on all of us, especially our kids and our families,” Bibb said. “My administration remains focused on helping provide the necessary supports that students, educators, and parents need as we continue to come out of the pandemic. These critical initiatives will help accelerate progress on literacy, mental health, and engagement.”
On the education front, the proposals including more than $16.5 million to create new programs, or supplement existing ones, at the Cleveland Metropolitan School District and other Cleveland schools. That includes:
- A new educator innovation program, set to cost $5.4 million, that will provide grants to teachers who are working on projects to improve public schools’ quality, along with hiring a “Learning Innovation Strategist.”
- About $2.1 million to support expanding career planning programming across schools in the city through the Greater Cleveland Career Consortium, while expanding CMSD’s PACE program to non-CMSD schools within the city.
- More than $3.7 million for a new “Integrated Health Initiative” to ensure equitable student access to physical and mental health services. That’ll mean funding to build out telehealth tools, brick-and-mortar clinic spaces and expenses for community health staff and coordinators.
- A new literacy program for students in kindergarten through fifth grade, with a focus on phonics and language fluency, will receive $3 million. That will provide access to two programs: “Amira, a software-based, personalized literacy instruction program; and Ignite! Reading, a Zoom-based program providing personalized instruction to students via trained tutors.”
- About $730,000 to fund a digital and texting-based family feedback and engagement platform so the school district can gather information easier, and synthesize it into an action plan.
- Almost $1 million to the Cleveland Transformation Alliance to create a Family Advisory Network for feedback on improving schools in the city, along with creation of a “Parent Leadership Training Institute.”
- A new program with College Now Greater Cleveland that will help adults return to higher education settings to finish degrees. That initiative would receive $300,000 .
The proposals also include $13.5 million for workforce development for high-demand jobs, with a $10 million project focusing on training people of color and women. Another proposal calls for $3.5 million to purchase and remediate a number of commercial sites in Cleveland for development.
Bibb also will be requesting Council approval for about $1 million in funding for a long-term violence prevention strategy, which will include hiring people to do community engagement on the issue.
Finally, Bibb’s proposed spending package includes $4 million for upgrading the city’s 311 call center, and $5.5 million for a pilot participatory budgeting process.
Council in September approved $10.6 million in ARPA spending for social service initiatives and more than $50 million in October for housing reform.
Federal rules require Cleveland to allocate all of its ARPA funding by 2024. The money must be fully spent by 2026.