Burbio School Tracker 3/20: Changes in Virginia

ESSER III plan changes accelerate, plus enrollment announcements from Minnesota and Connecticut.

In a December blog post we highlighted some early examples of ESSER III plan changes by school districts.  Burbio checks plans regularly for updates.  The pace of published changes has increased in the past few weeks, as districts move money to different priorities and get more specific about spending initiatives.  In particular we are seeing a high percentage of districts in Virginia change plans.   We also have 2022/23 enrollment announcements from Connecticut and Minnesota.  More below.

1.  In Virginia, this education policy announcement from Governor Youngkin's office from October  includes seven "Action" points, the last of which is to "Challenge each local school division to spend their remaining nearly $2 billion of federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds on proven efforts to recover learning . .  "  The report is cited in several revised ESSER III plans we are seeing published in Q1 in Virginia.  Among the examples (estimated ESSER III allocation in parenthesis): 

  • Norfolk Public Schools ($117MM) gets much more granular in their updated plan about intended spending, which includes over $27MM across multiple tutoring programs, $3.6MM for smartboards and a data management system, and details on $60 MM of HVAC-related spending.   Also worth noting is the vast majority of the summer school budget ($4.4MM) has yet to be spent. 

  • Spotsylvania County Public Schools ($22.7MM) eliminated $1.5MM in air-quality related initiatives and over $700,000 of professional learning initiatives, and also eliminated a line item for 20 full-time equivalent staffers.  The revised plan includes over $10MM of tutoring-related programs, often jointly labeled as hiring classroom instructors, as well as under "direct support to families for tutoring- family engagement." 

  • Accomack County Public Schools ($13.4MM) clearly labels changes in their updated plan.  They include a reduction of over $1.6MM of stipends for summer and afterschool programs at the elementary level plus the elimination of $167,000 of new buses for bookmobiles.  Increases include over $1MM on a Saturday Success Academy for Grades 3-5, Middle and High School, plus over $600,000 in reading programs for K-3. 

  • Augusta County Public Schools  ($10MM) is increasing spending on HVAC from $1.5MM to $2.6MM and spending $100,000 on mobile classrooms, and eliminating a line item for $2.1MM in building upgrades. The primary increase is a $1.2MM increase in staff supplemental payments. 

2.   We are also seeing adjustments in plans in other states.  In the three examples below, we give examples of some common characteristics of plan changes:  reduction of outdoor capital expenditures, adjustments and balancing of staffing requirements based on what is required to deliver services, and the reallocation of expenses from broader categories to more specific programs and tactics:  

Cartwright Elementary School District, AZ ($74.5MM) is an unusual example of a district with a large number of material changes from their original plan: 

  • Elimination of a $4.4MM facilities project calling for "Installation of rod iron and/or painted chain link fencing across District schools (there are 20) to ensure student/staff safety," plus the elimination of over $4.5MM in field improvements across those 20 schools.  In its place in the facilities category the district is spending just under $1MM on field and court renovations. 

  • Removal of $800,000 of mitigation expenses such as "face shields," "medical gowns," and "desktop sneeze guards" while increasing spending on facemasks by $200,000.

  • Reduction in full-time teaching staff increases from 45 to 21, saving $3.8MM, while adding almost 100 learning and intervention specialists totaling roughly $10MM. 

  • Elimination of 18 budgeted staff positions with titles such as "Fiscal Support Supervisor," "Classified Administrator for Accounting," and "Director of Business Services," saving over $800,000. 

Kipp Delta Public Schools, AR ($16.9MM) changes included: 

  • Elimination of $1MM of transportation expenses

  • Increase of staffing costs from $1.8MM to $3.3MM and increase of "additional pay" from $342K to $1.3MM.  

  • Addition of $500K for "Using data about students’ opportunity to learn to help target resources and support."

  • An increase in tutoring from $240K to $430K, while increasing summer school expenses (from $375K from $570K) and decreasing "out of school time"  programs from $420K to $290K

  • The general category of "addressing resource inequities" went from just over $2MM to $743K. 

Woodland Joint Unified School District, CA ($18MM) 

  • Summer school expenses went up from $1MM to $1.4MM while costs to implement a virtual academy went from $1.74MM to $1.47MM.

  • Air filtration went from $1.9MM to $3.3MM

  • Paraprofessional support went from $2.5MM to $1.1MM and library media staffing went from $972K to $320K.  Expansion of mental health services went from $865,000 to $468,000, and costs related to Covid contact tracing ($150,000) supporting students in quarantine ($300,000) were added to the plan. 

3. This week we highlight two more states that announced 2022-23 enrollment.  First Connecticut, where enrollment increased 0.1% versus 2021/22.   Connecticut features both the first grade and tenth grade increases we see in many states (2022/23 in yellow):


The decline in City enrollments dropped in Connecticut this year while other locales increased:



In Minnesota enrollment dropped 0.1% versus 2021/22.  Expansion in Pre-K slowed this year.  Similar to Connecticut, above, and many other states, enrollment is dropping in the middle school grades:  


The city locale continues to decline this year in Minnesota while suburban and rural districts increased: 


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