Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds (ESSER)
On May 11, 2021, District leaders outlined priorities for the use of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds (ESSER) dispensed through the American Rescue Plan and two earlier COVID-19 related relief bills. With $11.1 million of ESSER I funds used to purchase student and staff devices, personal protective equipment, and sanitary supplies, $150.1 million remains through ESSER II and American Rescue Plan ESSER III to support the District’s needs exacerbated by the pandemic.
Bolstering Current Investments through ESSER II
The COVID-19 pandemic forced unplanned budget disbursements toward technology to support becoming a 1:1 device district, 220 air purifiers and replacement filters to improve ventilation, and new communication tools, such as Talking Points, to improve two-way parent engagement, particularly with the District’s English Language Learners. By way of its request through ESSER II, the District aims to utilize approximately $50.1 million to sustain and enhance its current investments by expanding its wireless technology infrastructure and assets, improving indoor air quality, and advancing summer learning programming. Close to 3,000 students have signed up for the District’s Summer Boost program designed to stem the COVID-19 slide.
ESSER III Spurs Innovative Planning to Address Learning Loss
With approximately $100 million earmarked for PPS through American Rescue Plan ESSER III funds, District officials outlined future investment opportunities in instructional materials, teacher and staff professional development, and external partnerships supporting families and providing wrap-around services to schools, including trauma-informed practices and social-emotional learning.
Board Establishes Stakeholder Engagement Process for District Use of ESSER III Funds
The Board of Directors and District administration both agree that the work ahead will require the collective engagement of the community. On May 26, 2021, the Board approved a resolution that established a 21-member ad-hoc Public Stakeholder Advisory Committee to provide recommendations on initiatives aligned to ESSER III guidelines, hold public engagement forums, and give feedback to the District on the plan that was submitted for approval in March 2022.