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Here’s how school districts have spent federal pandemic funds so far

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Published: Oct. 1, 2021 at 3:41 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 21, 2021 at 1:39 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Our nation’s education system has drastically changed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Mississippi, already struggling schools continue to be put to the test of educating students while juggling changing COVID-19 guidelines, fluctuating cases, and hybrid schedules.

To lessen the impact of COVID-19 schools, President Joe Biden signed off on federal relief packages including the $1.9 trillion Cares Act and $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan. The government funds are set aside for everything from healthcare and public health to education and transportation.

Mississippi has received $2.5 billion for school districts and institutions of higher learning.

Mississippi Department of Education calls it the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Funds. It’s three rounds of federal money MDE is granted by the government. First, the state education department uses a needs-based formula to decide how much money each district can get. Then, the district explains to MDE how much is needed and what for.

So far, here’s how much each school district has spent.

Hinds County School District

ESSER I $1,018,055.00

  • Bi-Polar ionization retro-fitting supplies for air purifiers
  • Furniture
  • In-line boards, stands, document cameras, and web cameras

ESSER II $4,204,835.00

  • Summer academy and after-school programs
  • Transportation
  • Instructional interventionist
  • Teacher assistants
  • HVAC filter changes
  • Window replacements
  • Sanitation, cleaning, and water supplies
  • Water fountain bottle filling stations with filters
  • Paid leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act
  • Construction awning

ESSER III $9,443,463.00 (not yet spent, awaiting approval from MDE)

  • Summer and after school academies and transportation
  • Instructional interventionist
  • Teacher assistants
  • Curriculum coaches
  • Curriculum supplies
  • Instructional software
  • Behavioral counselors
  • COVID-19 health supplies
  • Classroom additions

Jackson Public Schoool District

ESSER I

  • Providing principals and school leaders with resources to address the needs of schools
  • Training for staff on sanitation and minimizing the spread of infectious diseases
  • Planning for and coordinating long-term closures
  • Purchasing of educational technology
  • Providing mental health services and supports
  • Planning and implementing summer learning and supplemental afterschool programs

ESSER II

  • Activities addressing learning loss among students
  • School facility repairs and improvements
  • Inspection, testing, maintenance, repair, replacement, and upgrade projects to improve the indoor air quality in school facilities

ESSER III

  • Preliminary planning in progress. A minimum of 20% of the school district’s formula allocation must be reserved to address learning loss through evidence-based interventions. Such interventions might include extended time activities that respond to academic, social, and emotional needs and the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on certain at-risk student groups.

Rankin County School District

ESSER I approximately $1,900,000

  • Chromebooks
  • Chromebook carts
  • Summer remediation materials
  • Nurses salaries for 2021

ESSER II approximately $7,900,000 (not yet spent, planned expenses)

  • Nurses salaries for 2021 and 2022
  • Student and teacher computers for 2022
  • Dongles
  • 3rd grade Gate Summer Program
  • Elementary Summer Remediation Program
  • Middle School/High School Summer School and Remediation Programs
  • Elementary and Secondary Summer Enrichment Programs
  • Digital Curriculum for Elementary and Secondary
  • Two mental health counselors
  • Teachers
  • Assistant teachers for new, over-age middle school program

ESSER III approximately $17,700,000

  • Preliminary planning in progress

Madison County School District

ESSER I $1,103,372

  • Sanitation
  • Additional school nurses
  • Personal protective equipment

ESSER II $4,725, 527

  • Programs to address learning loss (summer school, summer enrichment programs, academic tutoring)
  • School nurses
  • Behavioral health therapist
  • Technology enhancements

ESSER III $10,612,863

  • Preliminary planning in progress

Madison County School District says their plans include funding for programs related to learning loss, including in-school tutorials and summer learning recovery programs. The proposal also includes funding for school nurses and mental health therapists. It also includes funding for construction projects across the district.

Canton Public School District

ESSER I approximately $7 million

ESSER II approximately $13 million

Canton Public School District says all funds have been/will be used for the following:

  1. to address learning loss among students
  2. to coordinate preparedness and response efforts to COVID-19
  3. to purchase supplies to sanitize and clean facilities
  4. implement procedures and systems to improve preparedness and response efforts
  5. to purchase educational technology for the schools
  6. to provide mental health services and resources
  7. to plan and implement summer learning and supplemental after school programs
  8. to continue school and facility repairs and improvements
  9. to maintain school operations and services and employ existing school staff
  10. to conduct activities to address the unique needs of low-income students, children with disabilities, English learners, homeless, and foster students

Here’s how much MDE allocated for each district in 2020.

Here’s how much MDE allocated for each district in 2021.

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