The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act was passed December 21, 2020 and allocated $82 billion to the US Department of Education (USDOE). Of the $82 billion allocation, $54.3 billion was earmarked as ESSER II Funds for K-12 institutions. Based on the legislation, ESSER II funds were not subject to equitable services and thus public school systems were not required to perform outreach to non-public schools. The announcement of the ESSER II package and the start of HCS’ FY22 Budget Development cycle were synchronous. Mid-January, the Georgia Department of Education (GADOE) informed Henry County Schools its ESSER II allocation would total $23.7 million. Given the uncertainty of state revenues for FY22, planning for ESSER II funds was completed in coordination with the FY22 budget development cycle. In February 2021, a presentation of FY22 budget outlook and information on the ESSER II funds was presented to the Board. A tentative outline of funding uses was provided to the Board in March as well. Post the adoption of the FY22 budget on May 10, 2021, a comprehensive plan for ESSER II funds was submitted to GADOE for review and approval.
The plan was approved June 2, 2021 and included the following budgetary objectives:
- Covering the cost for the summer 2021 recovery programs, including offering after-program care to families at no cost to provided extended enrichment to more than 350 elementary students;
- Purchasing additional devices, software, and other instructional materials to support FY22 launch
- Completing facility improvements that support enhanced air quality and purchasing materials to continue COVID-19 mitigation as outlined in the District playbook;
- Allocations to each school to support purchase of supplemental instructional resources and PPE/cleaning materials;
- Investments in additional staff to support remote learning capacity of Impact Academy;
- Investments in expanded nursing services and COVID mitigation management;
- Investments in comprehensive therapeutic services; and
- Restoring fund balance of school nutrition and afterschool service programs, which operated at deficits to provide continuing service in FY21.
The initial grant period for the funds expired September 30, 2022 and a total of $12.2 million of the ESSER II allocation was expended. The carryover period for the remaining grant funds of $11.9 million began October 1, 2022 and ended September 30, 2023. In addition to the above denoted objectives, the carryover grant funds were leveraged to facilitate other emergent objectives such as:
- costs associated with operating a close pod vaccination clinic for Henry County Schools employees,
- professional development of teachers and leaders,
- procurement of instructional resources in support of English language learners,
- replacement of materials not returned from pandemic closures, etc.
A summary of spend by major initiative category is as follows:
All ESSER II funds were expended in accordance with programmatic objectives approved by the Georgia Department of Education as of September 30, 2023