What is the ESSER money? It’s a “slush” fund for districts to use. They received all the regular state and levy money PLUS this extra. Yes there are guidelines but it’s a BIG 1 time bucket of money that will be used. Read the documentation for your school district then contact your Superintendent and School Board Directors and ask questions. Get details and see what you think.
Congress set aside approximately $13.2 billion of the $30.75 billion allotted to the Education Stabilization Fund through the Coronavirus Aid Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER Fund). Signed into law on March 27, 2020, the Department awarded these grants to State educational agencies (SEAs) for the purpose of providing local educational agencies (LEAs), including charter schools that are LEAs, with emergency relief funds to address the impact that COVID-19 has had, and continues to have, on elementary and secondary schools across the Nation. This is 1x money. (You can review the details at: https://oese.ed.gov/offices/education-stabilization-fund/elementary-secondary-school-emergency-relief-fund/)
The program is broken into three (3) pieces: ESSER 1; 2 and 3.
We sent public record requests to a number of the school districts in Southwest Washington at the end of June/early July. Some of the districts had already shut down admin services for some portion of the summer. In many cases they said they would need anywhere from 4-8 weeks to gather and prepare the information. Some slipped through the cracks. We still don’t have them all but it’s gone on long enough it’s now time to share what we have. In addition, all school districts HAD to have their 2021/22 budgets approved an in place before they could start the new school year so the ESSER funds should appear in all budgets.
There is a guidance document from OSPI that you may want to review: OSPI Guidance on ESSER Funds Feb 2021
Here is a chart that shows information about ESSER I; II and III: SideBySideofStateFundsandLocalFunds-ESSER_WA_State_August_2021
The simplest way to handle this is to list the school district and provide what they sent us. We’ll try to summarize in case you don’t want to dig and provide a snapshot of funds for all districts we have data for in one table. We’ll start with the largest and move to the smallest (in terms of student population size). Fell free to contact your school district and/or school board members or candidates and ask questions. Remember…this is a 1x fund allocation so they need to spend it wisely.
Here is a chart from the Camas document that purports to show the amount per student for all districts in Southwest Washington:
ESSER Funds = $63,815,881
Document: ESSER funds and use Evergreen SD 2021
ESSER Funds = $64.5mm (Note: The ESSER 1 funds were not listed. The money was spent in the 19/20 budget)
Comment: Their document is a mix of text and slides. They redacted some information. It’s convoluted and very hard to digest…intentionally?
Document: VanSD_ESSER_Funds_Uses 08-23-21
Battle Ground SD
ESSER funds = $19.3mm
Comment: The document includes levy information and data from a workshop the district conducted.
ESSER Funds = $6,996,892
Document: This includes ESSER + their 21/22 budget CamasSD_ESSER_Funds_Uses+plus_2021-22 Budget Presentation 8-23-21
ESSER Funds = $3,203,034
Documents & Links: Washougal ESSER Info and communications June-Sept-2021 Their budget page can be found at: http://www.washougal.k12.wa.us/blog/2021/07/10/draft-2021-2022-budget-available/
ESSER Funds = $3,193.970
Document: ESSER PPP Ridgefield 2021
ESSER Funds = $????????????????
Still waiting for a response.
ESSER Funds = $5,289,587
Document: Records Request #2021-07-WoodlandSD
La Center SD
ESSER Funds: $773,296
So there you have it. The amounts per district where we have been able to get them. If you contact your school board and/or district and get useful information please share it with us at: swweducation at gmail dot com. We’ll review, verify and update the article.
Lots of 1x money. Lots of borrowed money (federal deficit) for schools to spend on a wide range of goods and services. What say you?