In this episode, Dr. Wendy Oliver and Dr. Paula Love continue their timely conversation about the sources of funding currently available to U.S. school districts. If you haven’t yet heard part one, listen here to get detailed information about the ESSER Fund, established as part of the Education Stabilization Fund from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) package in March, and the funds made available through the Consolidated Appropriations Act in December. The vast majority of these funds are still available to districts, and the Department of Education has until September 2023 to obligate the funds from December.
Paula recaps the three highlighted areas, of the total 12 allowable uses for the Consolidated Appropriations Act funds―learning loss recovery, educational technology purchasing, and modifications to school facilities related to indoor air quality as areas of focus―and Wendy discusses how these areas are in alignment with district leaders’ goals nationwide, as evidence by her recent conversation with Dan Domenech, Executive Director of AASA, The School Superintendents’ Association.
These funds allow for districts not only to address immediate needs, but to work on long-term planning in implementing instructional best practices and resilient models. Paula also reminds leaders that any uses of funding under ESSA are also allowable with these new funds, so the potential uses are broad and give leaders many options. She also discusses $2.75 billion in funds that have been designated for non-public schools, and explains how these may be accessed.