The State of Delaware received more than $410 million in supplemental federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funding (known as ESSER III funding) from the the federal government’s recently-passed American Rescue Plan Act. Two-thirds of those funds are immediately available for states to distribute to school districts and charter schools, with the remaining funds to be made available once states, districts and charters develop ESSER III implementation plans.
Before that money is distributed, The Delaware Department of Education (DDOE) wants community input on how to best use it. An event this week offers a chance to weigh in.
The federal government has the following requirements for ESSER III: 20% of the funding must address learning loss due to the pandemic, supporting things such as summer learning, after school and extended day programs, and there must be a consideration of disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on underrepresented student subgroups, including racial subgroups, low income students, disabled students and English learners. No more than 1% can be used for administrative costs.
Other uses of the money will include COVID-19-related expenses such as reopening schools safely, sustaining their safe operation, and addressing students’ social, emotional, mental health, and academic needs resulting from the pandemic.
Delaware Secretary of Education Susan Bunting and Deputy Secretary of Education Christine Alois will host a virtual community conversation at 4 p.m. on Thursday, May 20, where they will share the feedback they’ve received so far and to solicit additional public comment.
According to the ESSER III information page, Delaware will receive the funding on May 24, and must have it distributed within 60 days.