San Marcos CISD is seeking about $16.4 million through a new grant that will aid in the district's recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mike Doyle, the district's director of federal programs, told board members May 17 that SMCISD will seek the funding through the American Rescue Plan's Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief program, or ESSER III, that was passed in March.

Doyle said the grant is designed to help safely reopen and sustain the safe operation of schools and address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on students.

"Keep in mind, the grant has just rolled out, literally two, three weeks ago," Doyle said. "This is just the notification piece."

In June, Doyle plans to return to the board of trustees with an established plan to submit the grant request.

Doyle said his team is now undertaking a needs assessment that involves consulting with various community stakeholders that include local businesses and organizations, parents, students, faculty and staff.

As part of the ESSER III grant, a minimum of 20% of the funding must go toward evidence-based interventions that respond to students' academic and emotional needs.

"As of right now, the way we have planned it, we are well above that 20%," Doyle said. "We are in the process of finalizing our needs assessment through surveys. We've sent out student surveys, parent surveys, faculty and staff, and stakeholder surveys."

The grant plan should be complete and submitted to the Texas Education Agency by July, Doyle said, adding the money would be spread out over a three-year period with carryover that would extend to September 2024.