Burbio School Tracker 10/16: 24 States

This week we look at the percent of districts having spent less than 50% of their ESSER III funding in 24 states that have reported in the last 90 days, an examination of the degree of spending and initiative detail that can be found in California's LCAP plans, plus a detailed look at Ohio's ESSER III breakouts.

1.  The Department of Education recently announced updates regarding ESSER III spending. States and districts can now apply for 14-month extensions to spend funds which could carry spending into the Spring of 2026.  Our analysis indicates there is just over $50 billion available to be spent.  For perspective, Title I grants to LEAs in 2023 total $18.4 billion.

This week we take a look at the number of districts that have yet to spend 50% of their ESSER III allocation.  Below is a breakdown of 24 states that have reported  ESSER III "percent spent" by district within the last 90 days (Alabama and Illinois don't put a "reported" date on their summaries, but have updated in that timeframe). 

In states such as New Jersey, Tennessee, Rhode Island and Alabama, districts covering over 60% of the student population have spent less than half their ESSER III allocation.  In Massachusetts and South Carolina the districts that still have not spent half of their ESSER III money represent  57% and 59% of the student populations, respectively.  On the low side, states such as Arizona, Washington, and Nevada (which is dominated by the Clark County School district) have less than 20% of their districts with over 50% remaining.   States that have larger district counts, such as Illinois (205), Michigan (285), and Indiana (143) have over 100 districts each that have spent less than half their allocation:

The chart below aggregates all districts from the list above and breaks out percent-spent by decile:

2.   Strategic plans are important documents for understanding a district's objectives, and suppliers to K-12 often require account teams to review them before engaging with districts. Burbio's searchable database of K-12 strategic plans and LCAPs is now at over 3,000 districts covering over 66% of K-12 students. 

In our previous Tracker we reviewed the shifts in terminology found in plans over the last five years, with a particular focus on post-Covid trends.  In that analysis we left out LCAPs ("Local Control and Accountability Plans"), which are plans updated annually by districts in the state of California.  LCAPs are generally over 100 pages in length.  The reason we left them out is a) By definition, every LCAP in our database was updated in 2023, so they skew the year-to-year sample sizes we were comparing  b) The detail of these plans, and frequency of keywords, would also skew comparisons versus plans from other states. 

 For example, the highest percent of keyword mentions in K-12 plans nationally fell in the 20-50% range, with only one, Assessments, coming in at higher than 53% (it was at 75%).  In LCAPs the mentions are much higher.  Below is an analysis of a sample of key terms from just over 200 LCAPs:   

Even as the terms appear frequently, the details they provide are considerable.  In our first Tracker featuring LCAPs we discussed some examples.

Further, and most importantly for suppliers, there is a budget section in every LCAP which provides dozens of line items of specific spending figures, plus descriptions of the tactics to be deployed for the initiatives.  Just some examples from a variety of plans: 

  • Jurupa Unified, CA  budgets $9.3 million for "Elementary Extended Day Opportunities" and $1.1 million for a "Parent and Early Childhood Development Center."
  • Colton Joint Unified is planning to spend $363,907 on an "English Learner Support: Language Assessment Center" and $941,577 on "English Learner Support: Language Support Services."
  • Val Verde Unified has set aside just over $1.2 million for "Special Education SEL Supports" and just over $1.7 million for an early literacy program. 
  • San Bernadino City Unified School District provides $6.8 million for "College and Career Readiness," $31 million to reduce class sizes, and a specific $15.4 million line item for professional development initiatives.  
  • Montebello Unified School District outlines spending $870,000 on "Community Engagement" initiatives and over $3 million in library staffing, support, and books.  
  • Anaheim Union High School District budgets $8 million for "Instructional Materials" and $8.8 million in "Technological Resources."

3.  This week we end with a breakdown of Ohio's ESSER III spending.  As noted above, through October 2nd Ohio has spent 58.3% of its ESSER funding. Below is a breakout of remaining ESSER III allocation by size.  Five districts in the state have over $50 million remaining and 41 have between $5 million and $50 million remaining: 

Below is a breakout by decile: 

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