How much pandemic relief funds has your school district spent?

Over the past two years, Mississippi State has received $2.5 billion in pandemic relief funds to improve education and help reduce COVID-related learning loss.

The Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) was originally created by the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, then later reconstituted in two other federal statutes, creating three pots of separate money for the state and the districts. spend.

All three sets of funds require 90% of the money to go directly to school districts. There are a wide variety of allowable expenses under ESSER guidelines, but the U.S. Department of Education is asking school districts to prioritize efforts to “safely reopen schools for full-time education for all students, maintain safe in-person operations, advance educational equity, and build capacity.

The remaining 10% goes to the state Department of Education, which has broad discretion to use the money for any pandemic-related emergency needs. No more than half a percent of the total amount of each ESSER fund may be used for administrative expenses.

So far, the Department of Education has spent 29% of its ESSER I funds, primarily to update the Mississippi Student Information System (MSIS), digital literacy coaches, a school nurse, vocational and technical education materials, and pre-K funding. Only 1% of ESSER II money was spent at the state level, primarily for MSIS updates and digital content subscriptions.

Districts spent their money in nine broad categories, which are described below.

Employee salariessalaries of teachers, professional staff, teaching assistants and substitute teachers; overtime pay, performance-based salary incentives and COVID-19 incentive payments

Social advantages: health insurance, life insurance, pension contributions, unemployment benefits

Professional and technical services: educational advisers, consulting services, lawyers, architects, accountants, nurses, IT services

Real estate services: water and sewer, electricity, communication, security, lawn maintenance, construction services, maintenance services

Other services purchased: student transport services, insurance (excluding social benefits), postal services, advertising,

Stationery: software, gasoline, transport equipment, food, books, periodicals

Goods: land, buildings/facilities, IT equipment, furniture, connectivity equipment, cars, buses

Other objects: fees and royalties, interest, debts, payments to public bodies

Other uses: summer food, indirect costs

Check out the charts below to learn more about how this money was budgeted and what district-level spending was for each pool.

ESSER I

Created by: Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act

Available until: September 30, 2022

Total to Mississippi: $169,883,002

Reserved for statewide programming: $16,988,300

ESSER II

Created by: Supplementary Appropriations for Coronavirus Response and Relief Act

Available until: September 30, 2023

Total to Mississippi: $724,532,847

Reserved for statewide programming: $72,453,285

ESSER III

Created by: American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA)

Available until: September 30, 2024

Total to Mississippi: $1,628,366,137

Reserved for statewide programming: $162,836,614

— Article credit to Julia James of Mississippi Today —

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