Burbio School Tracker 4/16:  31 States

This week we look at references to staff cuts in school board meetings, examine state-level CTE grants, review updated ESSER III spending percentages from across the country, and look at reading plans in Florida.

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. We introduced the service at the beginning of Q2 2023 and have been expanding. This week we highlight mentions of staffing cuts and terminations. A few notes: 

  • This week we are able to expand our indexes through Q1 2024. For Q2 2023 our coverage set included districts representing just over 40% of K-12 students, before expanding to over 50% in subsequent quarters.
  • This category included over 20 terms ranging from "staffing cuts," "staffing reduction," "reduction in force," "hiring freeze," and many more. The objective is to capture any reference to reduction in staff by a K-12 district. 
  • The chart below documents the percentage of districts that mentioned any of the terms at least once in the quarter.

As you can see below, the percentage of districts discussing staffing reductions has risen slightly, but consistently, over the last few quarters, albeit off a very low base:

References to Staffing Cuts - Board Documents-1

2. Burbio's State-Level Funding Tracker features state-specific grants to K-12 schools, covering all state departments, in addition to Federal grants where states can tailor the criteria. Burbio has identified over 900 grants and the database is growing daily. These grants often appear on short notice, and district decision makers often struggle to keep track of what funding sources are available in their own state.  

One of the largest areas of grants are Career and Technical Education (CTE), which take a number of different forms. Here are some examples:

Other types of CTE grants include those requiring local partnerships, those targeting the agriculture industry, middle-school targeted grants, and grants targeting economically disadvantaged or special needs groups. The Federal government provides formula-driven Perkins Grants plus a handful of highly targeted discretionary Perkins Grants, the largest of which awarded $25 million to 19 districts.

3. Under current ESSER III guidelines, funds must be obligated by September 30th, 2024, and disbursed by January 28th, 2025. In the Fall, the U.S. Department of Education announced that states and districts can apply for 14-month extensions to spend funds. Burbio tracks ESSER III funding plans with a particular focus on district-level activity. 

In our recent Tracker titled "Endgame" we identified a group of roughly 50% of K-12 districts that will be spending billions of dollars in the 2024/25 budget year, frontloaded to Q3 and Q4 2024 due to the deadlines involved. This week we take a snapshot of 31 states with recently reported ESSER III figures. Most of the states below have reported in the last 90 days.   

Districts in the states below have cumulatively reported spending 66.1% of their ESSER III funding, with over $18 billion total remaining:

ESSER Actuals 4-12-24

4. Burbio's growing list of datasets include strategic plans, school board documents, ESSER III plans, district checkbook registers, Capex plans and more. As we discover important documentation widely available in individual states we collect and include them for use by clients for analysis. Last week we discussed Foundation Literary Skills Plans in Tennessee. 

This week we examine Florida's District Comprehensive Evidence-Based Reading Plans. submitted annually by Florida districts and covering professional development, assessment, curriculum, and instruction on English. For this we analyzed 66 districts covering 95% of K-12 students in Florida.  Below is a list of terms mentioned in at least ten percent of the plans, which include company and program names in those areas: 

Florida Reading Chart



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