The Pflugerville ISD board of trustees discussed the district’s pursuit of federal relief through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief III fund, or ESSER III.

The discussion took place during the board’s June 17 meeting.

ESSER III funds are those allocated through the federal government’s American Rescue Plan to the state of Texas.

Information from the Texas Education Agency states Texas was appropriated $11.2 billion in April, and PfISD is eligible for $29.7 million, according to district information.

The purpose of ESSER III funding as stated by the TEA is to respond to the pandemic by allowing students and staff to return to school safely and to address student learning loss as a result of COVID-19.

Brandy Baker, PfISD's chief academic and innovations officer, said the district has been on an accelerated program to determine how to utilize the funding.

One of the methods toward determination was administration of a survey to teachers, students and parents, she said.

Regarding the mitigation of learning loss described in ESSER III requirements, respondents most favored supplemental after school programs, additional staff for class size ratios, software license fees for academic support and more support for low-income students, students with disabilities and English learning students.

For funding required for health, safety and student services, respondents most favored allocations toward providing mental health services and supports, among other initiatives.

"What's coming out of this data ... especially for learning loss, [is that] additional staffing, tutoring, those keep popping up," Baker said. "There definitely is a trend."

Baker said the next big step involves a district-level ESSER committee meeting to review and prioritize compiled stakeholder feedback and recommend uses.

The committee will also develop another survey to solicit feedback on recommended uses, she said.

The district plans to submit its grant application by July 27, Baker said, adding she will provide the district with another update in July.