The third and largest round of federal COVID aid is sending $3.6 billion directly to school districts statewide, and districts are required to include educator input on how the money is spent. Watch the video and read more below about how TEA and your local are working to ensure educator voices are included.
TEA member resources:
- Template letter for local association leaders to send to districts
- Two model surveys to customize and send to educators in the district:
- TEA Legal FAQ on ESSER 3 funds
- TEA Legal FAQ on ESSER 3 funds and Collaborative Conferencing (PECCA)
- Checklist of approved ways ESSER funds may be used
The relief aid is known as the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER). The first two rounds -- ESSER 1 & 2 -- were used by districts in a variety of ways, including teacher bonuses, adding mental health workers and food service vehicles, and even paid for employee daycare. This new third round of funding dwarfs the first two. This third round of funding equals about half of the current yearly BEP funding.
Districts must submit a plan by August 27 or 31 (according to recent guidance from the Department of Education) detailing how the funds will be used over a three year period. How these dollars are used is a local decision based on federal law. These new federal dollars may be used for teacher compensation such as bonuses and stipends, mental health supports for students and staff, facility improvements for better air, water, and light, and items for communications and electronics. There are a wide variety of uses allowed under federal law.
Federal rules also require school districts get meaningful input from stakeholders, specifically educators and their professional associations like TEA. It is an unprecedented opportunity to make educators’ voices heard. Providing input on these August 31 spending plans matters and can have a great impact.
There is a simple strategy every local association can implement to help shape these ESSER 3 spending plans.
- TEA has a template letter local leaders can send district leadership about consulting on the plan.
- There is a model survey that can be customized for your local and sent to members and non-members alike to ensure educator priorities for these funds are part of the planning.
Local leaders can rely on TEA expertise on ESSER, along with the knowledge of best practices of other school systems in spending plans. We have the research and information to help drive the planning for these unprecedented funds.
TEA UniServ and staff are ready to assist local leaders in this brief but important process.