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Big Spring ISD held a public meeting last night at the Big Spring High School library to educate the community about the ESSER funds and to allow them to have input in the district’s plans for the American Rescue Plan ESSER III funds.

 

ESSER stands for Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief, a federal grant that had been authorized through the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) that had been signed into law in 2020. Big Spring ISD received $907,547 from ESSER I about a year ago; these funds are available through Sept. 2022. ESSER II funds, also made possible by the CARES Act, were received by the district on June 3rd in the amount of $4,283,433.

 

Funding for these federal grants was based on the Title I formula. According to the Texas Education Agency, Title I provides supplemental funding to state and local educational agencies to acquire additional education resources at schools serving high concentrations of students from low-income homes. These resources are used to improve the quality of education programs and ensure students from low-income families have opportunities to meet challenging state assessments.

 

ESSER III funds were a result of the American Rescue Plan, a plan similar to the CARES Act. The total amount of these funds is approximately $9.6 million ($9,619,918). Two-thirds of this money, $6,413.321 or approximately $6.5 million, was made immediately available to BSISD on April 28, 2021. The last third, $3,206,660 will be made available at a later date which is dependent on the State of Texas submitting a plan for the funding to the U.S. Department of Education.

 

Air Quality - HVAC filtering, control systems, fan coils, new evaporative units for CTE, which may require roof replacement/repairs - cost $5 million

 

Academics: Interventions and Trainings, and Personnel - cost $2 million

 

Technology: Additional Personnel to support devices - cost $500,000

 

Retention Bonuses: for all employees from COVID shutdown date to start of new school year in Aug. 2021 - cost $479,000

 

Safety: Keyless access controls for all interior doors, cameras to monitor spaces for social distancing - cost $1.5 million

 

Total costs of the suggested uses for ESSER III: $9,479,000

 

 

** Priorities for ESSER III, according to BSISD **

Entire Amount of ESSER III: $9,619,981

 

  • Air Quality - Upgrades across all campuses: $5 million
  • Academics - Interventions and Trainings: $2 million
  • Technology - Additional Personnel: $500k
  • Retention Bonuses - from COVID shutdown to Aug. 2021: $479,000
  • Safety - keyless access / cameras: $1.5 million

 

Total costs of the suggested uses for ESSER III: $9,479,000

Balance: $140,981

 

 

It should be noted that a final decision on the use of these funds is yet to be made. A public hearing on ESSER III will be held at the beginning of the next BSISD Board of Trustees meeting, scheduled for Thursday, June 10th, at 5:15 PM at the Big Spring High School Board Room, located at 707 11th Place.

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