Pflugerville ISD Advances on Federal ESSER III Funding Plans

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PfISD officials discussed ESSER III funding plans on July 15. (Brian Rash / Community Impact Newspaper)

Pflugerville ISD has made more progress towards its plans to spend federal funds under the American Rescue Plan Act.

Called the Emergency Relief Fund for Elementary and High Schools III, or ESSER III, the allocation of funds as stated by the Texas Education Agency is intended to be used to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by allowing students and staff to return to school safely and address student learning loss as a result of COVID-19.

Information from the Texas Education Agency indicates that Texas received $ 11.2 billion in April and that PfISD is eligible for $ 29.7 million, according to district information.

PfISD staff launched an accelerated stakeholder awareness campaign earlier this year to determine how to use the funding.

One of the methods of determination was administering a survey to teachers, students and parents, said Brandy Baker, PfISD’s head of studies and innovations.

Baker presented the first results of the survey at the district meeting on June 18.

Regarding the mitigation of learning loss described in ESSER III requirements, respondents preferred additional after-school programs, additional staff for class size ratios, software license fees for tutoring and increased support for low-income students, students with disabilities and students of English.

In a July 15 meeting, Baker said eligible expenses will include grants, learning loss mitigation, health and safety, human resources, and maintenance operations.

The ESSER III guidelines state that $ 5.9 million or more of the PfISD allocation must be spent on learning loss, Baker said, adding that much of that amount will go to additional tutoring.

The process of using the funding will involve principals or campus leaders consulting their stakeholders and then requesting funding from the district. Baker said those requests would then go to a smaller district committee for review.

“This is a one-time fund for us, so after September 2024 we will need to make sure we make decisions… that don’t put us in deficit,” Baker said, referring to when ESSER III funding expires. .

District staff will meet with campus leaders on July 26 to assist them in the process of engaging their stakeholders regarding funding requests, Baker said.

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