Week of 8/29:  Percent Spent

This week we look at the percent of ESSER III funding spent by districts across fifteen states, plus school security initiatives

1.  As part of Burbio's School Budget Tracker service we are collecting school districts' reported spending of ESSER III funding.  There is a lag time that varies in the state-level reporting.   This week we examine the percent of ESSER III funding spent by districts.  The chart below was created using the following approach:
  • We took a look at 15 states where reporting has been updated as of June 30th, 2022, or more recently.  That resulted in a universe of 4,899 districts.  Our assessment was that figures that hadn't been updated since before that date leave out too long a time frame to be meaningful. 
  • We then excluded 960 districts that had $0 reported spending because it was impossible for us to know whether "$0" really means "the district has spent $0" or if it means that the district just hasn't yet submitted required documentation. 
  • The remaining 3,939 districts are captured in the chart below.   Even after eliminating the "$0" amounts, note that 39.9% of districts have spent less than 20% of ESSER III funding, and 55.8% have spent less than 30%.
FINAL ESSER Actuals 8-28

2. In our August 1st report we reviewed example budget presentations of staffing trends as well as incentive payments being offered to attract and retain staff as the new school year approached.  Burbio's ESSER III database has now grown to over 5,400 districts we wanted to review staffing priorities.   Below is a detailed summary of staffing categories.  Taken together, over eighty percent of districts designated ESSER III funding for some type of staffing:

Staffing Chart 8-27-22
3.  Last week we noted the continued disruptions involving busing as the year starts.  Back-to-school school security and protocol updates are appearing in many districts, and here are examples from across the country:
  • Lubbock ISD, TX is hosting a Community Safety Meeting with agenda items covering social media, drug awareness, school-based police officers, and school safety and security.   Jacksonville ISD, TX is implementing a system of student ID badges for all students this year. 
  • This note from Beauregard Parish School, LA gives an interesting perspective on the scope of security training, as it outlines two days of active shooter training that involved the local sheriff department, police department, fire department, local and state-level homeland security representatives, the FBI, and staff from all schools. 
  • Brookfield Public Schools, CT  is adding two school resource officers at each elementary school, five security monitors assigned across the district for each school and one armed school security officer after school hours at the high school.  
  • Roseville City School District, CA reports "The RCSD Board of Education has recently authorized $2 million to outfit our schools with a six-foot perimeter fence and equip every classroom with classroom-safe locking doors and operable blinds  . . . In addition, every site will continue to practice regular lock-down and emergency drills  . . . .".
  • Alpena Public Schools, MI reviews the details of security protocols which include six different bullet points on how doors will be locked, building entrance and ID procedures, backpack regulations, and staff training updates. 
  • Farmington Public Schools, AR provides an update on school security staff, with a quote from the Safety Director, a profile of staff - "One of (our) resource officers . . . . . was named the University of Arkansas Criminal Justice Department “School Resource Officer of the Year. " - details on new security equipment and procedures, and a round-up quote from the School Superintendent. 
  • Clark Pleasant Community Schools Corporation, IN is hosting a "Superintendents Coffee" on the subject of school safety and security with a panel featuring eight representatives of local police, fire and emergency management departments. 

4.  Only four of the Top 500 districts in the country enter the week with mask mandates for students, as Covid 19 protocols continue to dissipate.   Some districts, such as The School District of University City, MO have identified school-specific level Covid 19 thresholds (1.5% in this case) for masking, while others, such as  Ann Arbor Public Schools, MI, no longer require masks even as they use terms like "Strongly Recommended" should their community go into the "High/Red" level.  As previously noted, when Covid 19 testing is discussed it is in the context of the at-home testing, and in some states tests are still offered through districts.  In Rye City School District, NY the Superintendent's Back to School Update ends with this, "No message from me would be complete without an offering of free COVID tests as we continue to be recipients of the State’s excessive largesse in this quarter.  Please, stop by the District office  . . . . . . . and help yourself to the COVID tests . . .   Beginning September 1, there will be boxes of test kits located outside each of the schools  . .  .  Bring a bag, wheelbarrow, or pickup truck. We’re running out of storage space."


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