Burbio School Tracker 10/3:  Strategic Trends

This week we provide a time-series analysis of priority areas in K-12 strategic plans. We also look at ESSER III spending in Washington and quickly recap the recent ESSER III extension

1.  As noted in our post last week  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.   Relevant links include this article from K-12 Dive, plus the recent "Dear Grantee" letter from the US Department of Education that summarizes the mechanics.   Also note that districts nationally have reported spending an average of just under 50% of their ESSER III allocation, leaving over $50 billion available to be extended. 

2.  Burbio delivers a searchable database of the most recent district K-12 strategic plans and LCAPs to partners with access through a district dashboard that can be integrated into CRMs.  Burbio has compiled over 2,200 K-12 district strategic plans and LCAPs covering over 62% of the K-12 population.  The database continues to grow, and we update the plans when new ones are announced by districts.  LCAPs are annual plans issued by California districts that tend to be 100+ pages and have considerable detail. 

This week we look at trends in keyword references.  For this analysis we looked at 1,627 district strategic plans across 49 states.  We separated out the LCAP database, as all our LCAP plans are from 2023 and they skew the figures.  We will review LCAPs in a future Tracker.   

The following chart shows the change in the prevalence of keyword references in plans last updated in 2018 or 2019 versus those issued in 2023.   The chart is ranked by total percentage change, but you can review the original percentage in the first numerical column:

Behind those longer term trends are interesting year-by-year changes, and we wanted to share a few of them.  We start with MTSS (Multi-tiered System of Supports).  Note this is a category that saw a big jump during the period of Covid 19 disruptions:

SEL (Social-Emotional Learning) began to increase before Covid 19 disruptions and peaked in 2021, declining since but still considerably above 2018 levels: 
Similarly, mentions of mental health were increasing before Covid 19, and now appear in over 40% of district strategic plans: 
Instructional materials jumped in 2020, dropping slightly during 2021, and have increased since: 
This week's final chart is for the term bilingual, which took a large leap in 2022 and has dropped so far in 2023 but remains far above pre-Covid levels:
The significance of these figures lies in both the importance districts are placing on certain initiatives as well as the level of detail that is appearing in these plans that is relevant to suppliers.  In future Trackers we will look at additional time-series examples, differences across states, and LCAPs, which tend to have more detail than traditional strategic plans. 

3.  This week we look at Washington's ESSER III spending based on reporting from the end of August.  Washington is a state with one of the fastest rates of spending with over 64% of funding reported spent.  An estimated $586 million is remaining.  Below is a breakout of spending levels by decile: 

Below is the breakout by amount remaining.  Fifty-three districts have between $1 million and $5 million remaining and 31 report having between $5 million and $50 million remaining:

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