WASHINGTON (KNWA/KFTA) — The U.S. Department of Education announced on Wednesday the approval of Arkansas’ American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) plans, clearing the way for the distribution of the remaining $418 million in funding.

The state has received more than $1.2 billion total in ARP ESSER funds, with more than $835 million distributed to the state in March.

The final one-third of funding is released to states once their plans are given the green light, which Arkansas received on Wednesday.

“I am excited to announce approval for Arkansas’ plan,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “It is heartening to see, reflected in these state plans, the ways in which states are thinking deeply about how to use American Rescue Plan funds to continue to provide critical support to schools and communities, particularly as we move into the summer and look ahead to the upcoming academic year.”

The top priorities within Arkansas’ plan include addressing student mental and emotional health and addressing the loss of instructional time due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The U.S. Department of Education noted the following highlights of the state’s plans for the funding:

The Department of Education also approved plans for South Dakota, Massachusetts, Utah, Texas, Rhode Island, and the District of Columbia on Wednesday.