Burbio School Tracker 6/20:  75+ ESSER III Spending Categories

This week we present ESSER III spending plan details on 75+ categories, evaluate ESSER III spending nationally, and break down details from California.

1. FY 2024 is the final full budget year that districts can spend ESSER III funding.   Burbio tracks the amount of ESSER III funding that has been spent by districts nationwide, and also has compiled over 7,000 searchable district plans representing over 83% of K-12 students and over $93 billion in spending.  In all there over 100+ categories in our database, just over 75 of which are presented below.  The charts below can also be found on Burbio's ESSER III summary page on our website.   

The first chart looks at large spending buckets addressing learning loss.   A few notes:

  • Some districts break out summer and afterschool programs into separate initiatives, and some combine them into one category.  You will note those three categories, plus the "Extended School Year/Weekend Learning" category, total over $6.5 billion of projected spending.  

  • Even as there are many specific categories, some of them remain quite broad, and our clients who sell into K-12 will work in multiple categories.  Summer and afterschool programs, for example, often involve tutoring, STEM, and Arts programs, even as the districts may not break them out as a spending category.  This principal holds true across all spending areas in the plans. 


2.  The next chart is facilities and operations, which features a large investment in HVAC-related categories:



One of the other tools that is important for evaluating ESSER III across all spending categories is keyword searching.  The chart above, for example, indicates that furniture is referenced in 791 plans as a dedicated category.  But there are also references to furniture in additional plan descriptions (above the 791) for construction, classrooms, and more, in which the dollars are embedded in the aggregate figures.  Partners supplement their analysis with searching for terms to evaluate district intent.

More category charts follow the analysis of national and California "actual" spending trends.   

3.  Burbio tracks the reported ESSER III "percent spent" for over 14,000 districts and updates the information monthly.  Timing of state level disclosures of spending rates vary, which can distort national analysis as some states go months without reporting.  For the chart below, we combined ten states that reported for each of the last four quarters and note a rather consistent growth in spending of just over 8% a quarter, or 2.7% a month, across those states:



4.  California is not included in the composite above as their last reporting date was 3/31, but we have broken it out separately in the chart below.  The spending pace in California lags slightly behind the  national average:


5. Below is a scatter map focusing on California school districts, with criteria laid out in three buckets:  1) Orange are districts that have both over 60% of their ESSER III allocation available and over $2.5 million remaining; 2) Aqua dots are districts with more than 60% of their allocations unspent but less than $2.5 million remaining; 3) Dark blue are districts with more than $2.5 million available but less than 60% of their funds unspent:


6.  We finish with billions of dollars of additional spending details.   Below is the chart for ESSER III technology categories.   Plan descriptions often get very granular about technology purchasing initiatives which makes keyword searching critical: 


7.  The following chart covers additional academic categories.  As previously mentioned, many of these categories (ELL, STEM, Arts, etc.)  are also a part of other, larger academic categories noted above, in addition to the dedicated spending noted below. College and Career feature broadly in ESSER III plans:


8.  Mental health programs, social and emotional learning, and mentoring programs broken out here:


9.  Staffing and professional development is one of the largest categories of spending: 


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