The State of Texas recently released Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) III federal stimulus allotments to school districts using Title 1 funding formulas. LHISD's share of these federal funds totaled $1,185,856. The TEA is making approximately $790 thousand available to the district now to specifically address costs related to the COVID-19 pandemic and address learning loss due to the pandemic.
It is crucial to note that these federal funds are temporary and will cover a 3-year period which will be heavily audited. We will continue to communicate with staff, parents, and the community on the District's progress with formulating a plan and having that approved by the TEA and monitor the continued guidance that the Agency releases. There will be an application process through TEA to access these funds, which involves a grant application process and receiving student, staff, and community input to create a plan to expend these funds.
The remainder of our available funds through the federal government's ESSER III stimulus is being held while TEA awaits a response from the U.S. Department of Education for any specific language or details on how the funds may be spent. Often, federal money like this comes with specific requirements which limit how the district can use the funds.
The District collected stakeholder feedback from district administration, campus leadership, teachers, parents, students, and the community through a series of surveys and in-person meetings including a public hearing held on June 21, 2021. A District-level committee analyzed the stakeholder feedback and determined a plan for the use of the funds.
As part of the ESSER III grant application, the district has prepared a Use of Funds Plan while meeting the following criteria:
1. Safely open and operate schools for in-person learning.
LHISD has completed this task and launched the COVID 19 Guidelines Website
2. Use the required 20% to address the academic impact of learning loss.
3. Utilize ESSER III funds for teachers/staff retention and professional development.
4. Ensure interventions will respond to academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs.