ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Today, President Joe Biden acknowledged Howard County for its use of American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding to support educators and bus drivers during a speech to National Association of Counties (NACo) leaders.
During his speech President Biden urged counties to “use the flexibility we built into the law and spend those funds wisely, to build a future around working people, who make up the communities you run. Put these funds to work to keep people on the job, connect people with better jobs, and providing retention bonuses for teachers and bus drivers, like Howard County, Maryland did.”
It is gratifying to be recognized as a national model with our thoughtful use of federal relief funding for educators and bus drivers. Through a strong partnership with the Board of Education, the Howard County Public School System, and others, we collaborated to use available resources where they are needed most. We will continue to look for innovative ways to support our educators, create jobs, and move our community forward.
To date, Howard County has expended over $23.5 million of its initial $31.6 million ARP allocation, focusing its spending on education, health care and front-line workers, housing, public safety and business and industry support.
Supporting County schools, students and educators has been a top priority, with nearly $11 million in County ARP funding expended on HCPSS educators, school bus drivers and for the expansion of school based mental health services to all public schools in Howard County.
Investment in health care workers and programming has been a priority as the County continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, with nearly $8 million provided to support Howard County General Hospital, Howard County Health Department and front-line County employees, community-based mental health services and the expansion of COVID-19 testing resources.
Other expenditures include $2 million for foreclosure prevention grants to homeowners, nearly $1.6 million for the County’s Body Worn Camera program, and over $800,00 in industry support for tourism, small businesses and nonprofit organizations.