Week of 3/7: Mental Health Spending

This week there was an acceleration of districts shifting to mask-optional policies as several states moved up their dates for allowing local district flexibility. We take a look at mental health spending using ESSER III funds.

This week there was an acceleration of districts shifting to mask-optional policies as several states moved up their dates for allowing local district flexibility.   We take a look at mental health spending using ESSER III funds.  More below. 
To receive a sample of Burbio's detailed by-district ESSER III spending dataset  sign up at our ESSER III landing page.
FutureEd and Burbio are hosting a webinar at 2 p.m. ET on Tuesday, March 15, to explore ESSER III spending plans and what’s next for reporting expenditures and measuring impact. Panelists include Curtis Jones, Bibb County School District Superintendent; Nick Simmons, Special Assistant to the Secretary, U.S. Department of Education; Burbio co-founder Julie Roche, and the team from FutureEd.  For more information and to register, click here.
1. Burbio's Mask Policy Tracker tracks the Top 500 district mask policies, updated daily.  As of Sunday, March 6th, 292 of the Top 500 districts are mask-optional, the highest level seen this academic year and an increase from 176 on February 4th. The figures in the chart are set to the effective date of the district's change, meaning a district that has announced a plan to switch to mask-optional won't appear as such until that date occurs:
Mask Numbers 3-6-22
2. After the CDC updated mask guidance  several states made new announcements.  California, Oregon, and Washington will be lifting school mask mandates as of March 12th.  Oregon (March 31st) and Washington (March 21st) had previously announced later dates for the shift.  Delaware announced mask-flexibility for local districts starting March 1st after having previously had a March 31st effective date. In Vermont, the state announced that as of March 14th " there will be no school-specific COVID-19 prevention and mitigation recommendations issued by the State . . ".
3.  Below is the current Top 500 mask tracker map, which can be found at our Mask Policy Tracker page: 
Top 500 Map Masks 3-6-22
4.  Here is a snapshot of mask policy changes occurring across the US:
5.  Burbio's ESSER III spending database has detailed spending plans for over 3,200 districts representing over 60% of US students and accounting for over $68 billion of allocations.  Currently over 7% of all spending is being dedicated to mental and physical health and this week we wanted to focus on this large category with some examples. The figure in parenthesis is the total ESSER III allocation for the district: 
  • Council Bluffs, IA schools ($18MM) will be hiring 10 therapists and two Student and Family Advocates for the next three years, plus will create a "trauma informed online academy" and make several curriculum enhancements involving social and emotional learning and behavioral health.  
  • Desert Sands Unified, CA  ($55.9MM) will spend $1.4MM on Prevention and Intervention Psychologists, $566,000 on  Mental Health Therapists, and $3.3MM on counseling over the next three years. 
  • Frederick County Public Schools, MD ($37.9MM) will be adding specialists for Behavioral Intervention (1) and Psychologist (1) for the next three years, plus contracted specialists in trauma,  bereavement. and suicide prevention (beginning page 94).
  • Omaha, NE Public Schools ($194MM) will spend $8.4MM over three years to "establish partnerships with local mental health partnerships,"  training on "trauma informed care," "enhanced systems for foster . . . homeless . . .incarcerated youth" and "compassion fatigue and self-care training for staff," among other line items.
  • Schenectady City School District, NY   ($41.3 MM) will spend $700,000 on Social and Emotional Professional Development, $1.7MM to  "Support SEL, Parent and Community Engagement," and $150,000 on social and emotional learning curriculum. 
  • Lynchburg City Public Schools, VA ($28.4MM) will spend 4.3% of it's ESSER III funding on " Professional development resources.  .  for staff members on proactive and positive classroom management . . mentoring program for students to address mental health and traumas, community providers for mental health and other wraparound services for students, resources to support bullying and violence prevention efforts. . ."
  • Hardy County Schools, WV  ($4.9MM) will hire an additional school psychologist for one year, three additional social workers for two years, along with smaller expenditures for therapy dogs, wellness center 'pool days' and social and emotional support for staff. 
  • Sarasota County Schools, FL ($66.6MM) will spend $10.2MM on  Mental and Behavioral Health Staff , Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) Training, Restorative Practices Training, and  Social, Emotion, and Behavioral (SEB) Curriculum and Training.
  • Madison County Schools, KY ($22MM) outline a variety of categories of focus including staff training in "CBITS: Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools," "Calming Areas" and "Calm Corners," school safety monitors, and Social Emotional Programming. 

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