Burbio School Tracker 9/6: Texas Breakdown

This week we look at an updated pace of ESSER III spending nationally, references to curriculum in school board meetings, ESSER III "cliff exposure" in Texas, and a deep dive on North Carolina.

1.  Burbio tracks the amount of ESSER III funding that has been reported 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.  Timing of state-level disclosures of district spending varies, which can distort national analysis as some states don't report regularly.   For the chart below, we combined thirteen states that reported for each of the last four quarters and note a rather consistent growth in spending of around 8% a quarter, or 2.7% a month, across those states.


It is worth noting the scope of upsent funds remaining.   ESSER III distributed $110 billion to LEAs across the U.S.   Projecting the figures above, another quarter based on the 8% per quarter pace would result in 53.5% of ESSER III being spent by September 30th, leaving roughly 46.5%, or just over $50 billion, still unspent.  For perspective, Title I grants to LEAs in 2023 was $18.4 billion.

2.   Burbio is now tracking school board meeting minutes covering over 50% of the K-12 public school population.  School board meetings cover all facets of school district operations, and partners use the information to determine district intent around purchasing decisions.  This week we look at curriculum terminology used in board meetings across the US this Spring.   A few notes:

  • For this survey we covered the last three school board meetings for districts representing just under half the country with districts from every state and the District of Columbia represented.

  • The chart below indicates the percentage of districts that mentioned a term at least once.  If a district mentioned a term in multiple board meetings over the period, it only counts as one time in the percentage.  

  • The percentages are by district count, not weighted for student population.


Below is an example of a view of keyword mentions at Los Angeles Unified.  The view below is from a portion of Burbio's "District Profile" that we provide partners, combining ESSER III, strategic plans, school board meetings and more, in one centralized dashboard. 

Note the spike in references to initiatives such as CTE,  ELA, STEM, Social Emotional, and Math that occur in different meetings since late last Fall. These increases generally mean an initiative is being considered with regard to that particular issue: 


3.   This week we add another state to our analysis of ESSER III spending as a proportion of district annual budgets.  Last week we reviewed Pennsylvania, and this week we look at Texas.  To review our approach: 

  • ESSER III spending began scaling in the Spring of 2022 as districts approved plans and launched programs.  It has gradually accelerated, but the amount spent will end up being back-loaded.  Based on trends, we estimate 40% of ESSER III funding will be spent during 2023-24 budget year.  

  • Next, we took that 40% of a district's ESSER III allocation and divided it by the 2022/23 budgeted expenses for each district to calculate the percent of spending that a district may be looking at replacing on an ongoing basis as ESSER III expires. 

  • There are other variables of course; for example, 2023-24 operating expenses aren't finalized, so the denominator in our equation (the 2022-23 Budgeted Expenses) may be low.  Districts are also eligible to spend ESSER III funds during 2024/25, and ESSER III may be a part of those budgets, so the funding drop-off won't be immediate.  Districts' ESSER III spending pace also varies and might have been more or less than our assumed 40% of total allocation.  This is an effort to frame the scope of the issue and identify the distribution of district exposure. 

Our first chart shows a distribution of Texas districts based on percentage of annual budget which would be ESSER III.   Just over 40% of districts have exposure of 5% or less in this calculation: 


Next is a pie chart summarizing the distribution above.  Note that a roughly equal percentage of districts have ESSER III exposure of 5 to 10% as 0 to 5%:


4.  This week we look at North Carolina's ESSER III spending based on recent reporting from the end of June.  Statewide, districts have spent 50.3% of funding and have just over $1.6 billion remaining.   Below is a break out by decile: 


The chart below shows the amount of funding remaining by district totals: 


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