Burbio School Tracker 2/20: Momentum

This week we look at recent trends in school board meeting discussions over the last nine months, examine ESSER III spending by district size, and highlight some recently announced state-level grants. More below:

Please click here to receive a recording of Burbio's recent 20 minute webinar "State-Level Funding Sources for K-12 Districts."

1.  Burbio's School Board Meeting Tracker covers school board meetings for just under 2,000 school districts each month, representing over 50% of the K-12 school population. Clients and partners can search for key terminology to give insights into school policies and purchase intent at the district level. We introduced the service at the beginning of Q2 2023 and have been expanding since. 

Given the history we have accumulated, we are in a position to map some trends over time. This week we highlight mentions of some example terms - Cybersecurity, Science of Reading, Chronic Absenteeism, Learning Recovery/Loss, and Artificial Intelligence - that have been appearing with increasing frequency and momentum over the course of 2023.  A few notes:

  • For Q2, our coverage set included just over 40% of K-12 students, before expanding to over 50% for Q3 and Q4.
  • The chart below documents the percentage of districts that mentioned the term at least once in the quarter.  
  • For Cybersecurity, Science of Reading, and Chronic Absenteeism, we searched for those terms exactly.
  • For Learning Loss, we also searched for Learning Recovery and Academic Recovery.  For AI, we searched a basket of nine terms such as Chat GPT, Generative AI, Artificial Intelligence, and more.

School Board Topics - Five Bars Across

The service is also used to monitor areas of district investment in capital equipment, infrastructure, staffing, special education, professional development, and more. In future issues of the Tracker we will be looking at trends in additional policy areas across K-12. 

2.  Last week Burbio distributed its monthly update of ESSER III spending "actuals" to clients featuring updates from thousands of districts across the U.S. This week we wanted to break down district spending by enrollment and district locale. A few notes:

  • The analysis below covers districts in states that have reported spending since at least November 30th, 2023.
  • The data covers just over 5,000 districts that have been allocated just under $38 billion of ESSER III funding. Total ESSER III funding to LEAs is approximately $110 billion.
  • Cumulative average spending in this group is 65.7%, meaning 34.3% is not yet reported spent.

The first chart shows average percent spent by district size. Districts with between 15,000 and 50,000 students report the lowest percent spent: 

Average ESSER III by Enrollment

The next chart highlights average cumulative spent by district locale. Suburban districts report the lowest percent spent so far: 

Average by Locale

3. In our most recent Tracker we discussed the prevalence of state-level funding grants that get posted on short notice. Burbio tracks state-level funding sources through a dashboard and an email alert system that allows for instant updates. Below are some examples of grants announced since our last Tracker published: 

  • In Massachusetts the Early Literacy Consortium Grant posted on February 8th and is due March 15th. The competitive program is intended to "promote improved teacher preparation and development in evidence-based early literacy instruction and improved early literacy outcomes for PK–3 students."  As to the deadline, the application reads, "All responses must (emphasis theirs) be received by the due date listed above . . .  Responses not received on time will not be reviewed . . ."
  • In Minnesota the Special Education Teacher Pipeline Program was posted on February 16th with a deadline of March 29th. The purpose of the grant is to develop a pipeline of trained special education teachers. 
  • In Georgia the Why Georgia Works Alignment Grant was posted February 9th and is due March 15th. This CTE grant will be awarded to a minimum of 25 Georgia districts.



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