Howard Co. Commits $8M in ARPA Funds to Educator Bonuses

In an effort to address staffing challenges, Howard County is committing ARPA funds to bonuses for public educators.

Yesterday, Howard County Executive Calvin Ball announced that the county would spend $8 million of its American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding on bonuses for county public school educators.

The announcement comes as Howard County and others around the state continue to grapple with school staff shortages, low morale, and the general challenges of COVID learning.

In a video statement, Ball praised county teachers, calling them a “lifeline” to families throughout the pandemic. In a press release, he said:

Our educators have served as a lifeline to our students and their families through the pandemic, managing the demands of switching from virtual to hybrid modes of instruction, all the while caring for the health and safety of their own families. For our teachers and support staff, these past two years have been especially grueling, and I believe we must retain those committed educators that make our school system among the best in the nation.

Ball also requested that the county school board use a portion of its $43.5 million federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) III to match the County’s $8 million commitment to support educators.

Watch the full video announcement.

Read the Howard County press release.

Access Ball’s letter to the Howard County School Board.