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Maine Schools To Get $411 Million From Federal Pandemic Relief Package

Logan Landry, Simone Moore
Robert F. Bukaty
AP file
Social studies teacher Logan Landry looks over the shoulder of seventh grader Simone Moore as she works on a project while seated next to a cutout of Elvis Presley at the Bruce M. Whittier Middle School, Friday, Jan. 29, 2021, in Poland, Maine.

Maine schools are receiving more than $411 million in federal funds from the pandemic relief package passed earlier this year.

The new influx of money follows several other rounds of payouts over the past year, which schools have used for technology, extra staff and transportation and other needs.

Portland Public Schools are scheduled to receive nearly $18 million from the latest funding package. At a budget hearing earlier this week, Superintendent Xavier Botana said the district is planning to use the cumulative federal funds for summer school, technology and hiring dedicated substitute teachers.

"We need to ensure that we set aside and commit to supporting our staff and community with the necessary resources to be able to provide expanded access to in-person learning next fall and beyond," he said.

The latest round of federal funding may be used for expenses such as hiring more staff, addressing mental health needs of students and improving ventilation. It's intended to address learning loss through programs such as summer school and afterschool education.

Recent survey data show that the vast majority of Maine students sampled are learning in classrooms at least some of the time.