To paraphrase country rockers the Georgia Satellites, the Warren County School System has “a little change in its pocket going jing-a-ling a-lingle.”
ESSER grants have made it rain for local schools. Two ESSER grants have been awarded and one more is on the verge of being OK’d.
Based on its current grant balances, Warren County has $434,861 which it has carried over from the ESSER 1.0 grant worth $1.62 million. That money has to be spent by Sept. 30, 2022.
Warren County has $7.31 million which it has carried over from the ESSER 2.0 grant worth $8.33 million. That money has to be spent by Sept. 30, 2023.
ESSER 3.0 is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, a grant worth $18.72 million. School officials are expecting to receive final approval of this grant in the coming days.
How do school officials plan to spend the ESSER windfall? There will be some $26 million still remaining if ESSER 3.0 is approved.
During an outline of proposed spending at Monday night’s School Board meeting, federal programs coordinator Vickie Dodd said an estimated $16.7 million is being budgeted for capital improvement projects such as additional classrooms, HVAC upgrades, and various projects at several schools.
When it comes to technology, $1.6 million is being budgeted for more Chromebooks and wi-fi hotspots.
A key facet of ESSER 3.0 is earmarking funds to address learning loss created by virtual instruction due to COVID. It was noted 20% of ESSER 3.0 funds are required to go toward learning loss which translates to $3.74 million for Warren County.
Dodd pointed out Warren County has budgeted $6.22 million to address learning loss. “We went way over the requirements,” Dodd said.
Also earmarked from ESSER funds is $2.3 million for what is called strategic teacher retention.
This includes money to pay for tutoring and to give teachers extra pay for extra job duties.