BELOIT—The School District of Beloit is scheduled to receive $30,506,350 in federal funds, in three allocations to address the needs of students, staff and the district facilities during and resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to information from Executive Director of Business, Human Resources, and Operations JoAnn Armstrong.
The first allocation, provided through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) is for the performance period of March 13, 2020, through Sept. 20, 2022. The district received $2,283,682 in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) and $919,855 in Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEERS). The federal funding distribution followed the Title 1 funding formula, including providing equitable participation/services.
The Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA) requires school districts to provide eligible children attending private schools and their teachers and families with Title 1 services or other benefits. To qualify for Title 1 services, a private school child must reside in a public Title 1 school attendance area and be determined to need additional academic support by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. As a result, $52,302 of the ESSER allocation and $21,066 of the GEERS allocation are allocated to area private schools under the Title 1 Equitable Services requirement.
Armstrong said the CARES funds were used in various ways to address the needs of students, staff, and facilities during the closing of schools and reopening in April 2021.
The use of the first allocation included: Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), signs, desk dividers, supplies for students during distance learning, headphones, UV Air Purification Systems for health offices, Chromebooks for students, internet hot spots for families, custodial and facility supplies to support additional cleaning requirements, and the Nearpod instructional platform for interactive classroom instruction.
The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) second allocation is for the performance period of March 13, 2020 through Sept. 30, 2023. The district received an allocation of $8,411,930 in ESSER II funding.
In the third allocation, through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), covers March 13, 2020 through Sept. 30, 2024, the district is poised to receive $18,890,883 in ESSER III funding. The district must reserve 20% of ESSER III funds to mitigate learning loss.
Armstrong said the district is reviewing needs and opportunities for the remaining funds in Allocation 2 and 3.
“We are meeting with multiple stakeholders to determine needs and areas where the most impact can be made for our students and district. It is critical to remember, these funds are one-time allocations, and therefore, any use of these funds on staffing or programming that have re-occurring financial commitments must be sustainable for the district beyond the performance period,” she said.
She said public school districts would not receive these funds again to sustain programming after exhausted allocations. Additionally, the third allocation requires that the state and district maintain the same level of funding equity as previous years.
“If the Joint Finance Committee and the State Legislature do not modify the recommendations/funding proposal for K-12 education, the State of Wisconsin is at jeopardy of being ineligible for the ARPA allocations. This will negatively impact every K-12 public school in the state,” Armstrong said.