Federal ESSER Grants for COVID-19
The Wake County Public School System (WCPSS) has received a number of state and federal resources to respond to the COVID pandemic. One category of funding is called ESSER funding or Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Fund. The primary categories of funds include:
ESSER I - PRC 163: The Elementary and Secondary School (K-12) Emergency Relief Fund, authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act of 2020 (CARES Act), is intended to assist eligible public school units during the novel coronavirus pandemic. The WCPSS allotment for this fund is approximately $24 million. These funds must be used by September 30, 2022.
ESSER II - PRC 171: The Elementary and Secondary School (K-12) Emergency Relief Fund, authorized by Section 313 of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act 2021 is intended to assist eligible public school units during and after the coronavirus pandemic. The WCPSS allotment for this fund is approximately $95 million. These funds must be used by September 30, 2023.
ESSER III - PRC 181: The Elementary and Secondary School (K-12) Emergency Relief Fund, authorized by Section 2001 of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021 is intended to assist eligible public school units during and after the coronavirus pandemic. The WCPSS allotment for this fund is approximately $214 million. These funds must be used by September 30, 2024.
Additional information on these funds can be found by visiting the NC Department of Public Instruction website.
Plans For Use of ESSER Funds
WCPSS will work throughout the term of the grant to evaluate needs and apply resources based on those needs. This will be an integral part of the budgeting process.
Addressing Lost Opportunities for Learning
- Additional Intervention Teachers - Additional intervention teacher positions to support students in addressing student needs. Anticipated cost is $21.4 million each year in 2021-22 through 2023-24.
- Instructional Support Technicians - These positions provide a student technology help desk to ensure that all students have strong access to digital learning and resources to promote student academic success. This also includes a district administrator to support implementation. Anticipated cost is $978,000 annually for 2021-2022 and 2022-23.
- Virtual Academy - Funds will be used to support the implementation of the Virtual Academy. Anticipated costs: to be determined.
- Summer Learning - Implementation of the summer learning program as required by the NC General Assembly. This includes staff, transportation, child nutrition and other costs. Anticipated cost: $26.8 million as of September 2021.
Student Support Services
- Social Emotional Supports - Additional counselors, nurses, psychologists, social workers, and instructional specialists will be hired to support student success. These positions and resources will support the implementation of the long-term plan to support social emotional learning. This includes district staff to support implementation. Anticipated costs: $11.1m annually from 2021-22 through 2023-24.
Providing Principals/Leaders with Resources
- Assistant Principal Months of Employment - Providing additional months of employment to have assistant principals employed during the summer to allow schools to adequately prepare for a strong start to the school year. Anticipated Costs: $3.2m
- Supporting Access to Substitute Teachers - Providing a consistent substitute teacher at each school site to provide greater consistency for students as well as providing additional funding to support funding for substitute teachers. Anticipated cost: $21.1m.
Supplies to Sanitize & Clean
- Contracted Services for Cleaning - These contracted services funds support clearing supplies and services to support schools. Anticipated cost: $4.3m annually for 2021-22 through 2023-24.
- Student Devices. Additional devices support moving the district to be able to provide a device to all students who need one. Anticipated cost: $6.2m
Other Allowable District Costs Responding to the Pandemic
- Maintenance Costs - Various Maintenance projects to reduce or prevent transmission of the virus. Anticipated cost: $13.8m in 2021-2022 with $10.6m in 2022-23 and 2023-24.
- Contracted Transportation - Contracted transportation services to meet the needs of special populations. Anticipated cost from ESSER is $5.5m annually in 2021-22 through 2023-24.
- Paperless Forms - Software to support paperless collection of forms and other information from parents and students to reduce transmission of the virus. Anticipated costs: $287,000.
- Miscellaneous Allowable Costs - This includes restoring costs removed from the budget previously but are now necessary again. Examples include utility costs ($2.7m annually), utility costs ($750,000), and two district positions to support the implementation of the grant ($157,000).
This list of projects will be updated approximately every six months in order to keep the WCPSS community informed of the use of ESSER funds.
Feedback on Federal Funds Spending
Spending will be evaluated each year to ensure alignment with current needs. Feedback on this process can be provided through:
- The annual budgeting process.
- Federal Programs team.