Pflugerville ISD has made more advancements toward its plans to spend federal funds as part of the American Rescue Plan Act.

Called the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief III fund, or ESSER III, the fund allocation as stated by the Texas Education Agency is intended to be used to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by allowing students and staff to return to school safely and to address student learning loss as a result of COVID-19.

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.

PfISD staff began an accelerated stakeholder outreach campaign earlier this year to determine how to utilize the funding.

One of the methods toward determination was administration of a survey to teachers, students and parents, said Brandy Baker, PfISD's chief academic and innovations officer.

Baker presented iinitial findings of the survey during the district’s June 18 meeting.

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.

During a July 15 meeting, Baker said allowable expenditures will include grants, the mitigation of learning loss, health and safety, human resources and maintenance operations.

ESSER III guidelines mandate that $5.9 million or more of PfISD's allocation must be spent on learning loss, Baker said, adding much of that will go toward additional tutoring.

The process for using the funding will involve campus principals or leaders consulting with their stakeholders, and then requesting funding from the district. Baker said those requests will then go to a smaller district committee for consideration.

"This is a one-time fund for us, so after September 2024 we are going to have to make sure we make decisions ... that don't put us at a deficit," Baker said, referring to the time when ESSER III funding expires.

District staff will meet with campus leaders on July 26 to help them with the process of engaging their stakeholders regarding funding requests, Baker said.