Plano ISD to receive $43M in federal COVID-19 relief funding

Student walking into school.
Plano ISD is slated to receive more than $28 million of the funding by May 23. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)

Plano ISD is slated to receive more than $28 million of the funding by May 23. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)

Plano ISD is slated to receive more than $43 million in grant funding from the U.S. Department of Education to help address unexpected costs incurred during the coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. Greg Abbott announced the release of $11.2 billion for Texas public schools from the third round of federal funding from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund in an April 28 press release. The funds will be dedicated to help districts address student learning loss and costs incurred during the pandemic. Due to federal requirements, just two-thirds of the funding is available immediately, Abbott said, through grants administered by the Texas Education Agency.

Upon completing and submitting applications, districts will receive the first two-thirds of the funding by May 23, according to Plano ISD.

The remaining one-third of the funding is expected to be released later this spring, according to the TEA, after the state gets federal approval.

According to the data, PISD is set to receive an initial allocation of about $28.82 million, which equates to two-thirds of its total allocation, and another $14.41 million in the remaining allocation.

“These additional funds will be a tremendous help in facilitating a comprehensive, long-term approach to support students and staff affected by the pandemic,” PISD Chief Operating Officer Theresa Williams said in a statement. “Leveraging these additional dollars will provide resources to maximize our efforts in supporting learning needs for students, as well as focusing on the social and emotional well-being of students, teachers and staff. We are grateful for the release of these funds to help Plano ISD fill financial gaps and meet the increased needs of students over the next year.”

With an allocation of $43,233,143, Plano ISD is seeking to apply this one-time funding in the following areas:

• Return-to-school activities and wraparound services to meet the needs of students, with an emphasis on academic needs and student wellness supports.

• Programs and activities to support college and career readiness, and career and technical education.

• Evidence-based activities to address learning gaps for students and summer learning programs.

• Training and professional development for district staff.

• Technology resources to enhance online learning for all students.

• Wraparound assistance for parents and families to effectively support students.

• School facility repairs and improvements to mitigate environmental health hazards and to support student health needs.

Texas public schools were allotted $1.3 billion in the first round of ESSER funding. In an April 14 presentation to the State Board of Education, Commissioner of Education Mike Morath said those funds were used to fund hold harmless in the 2019-20 school year. The hold harmless provision ensured school districts received state funding based on their projected enrollment despite attendance declines, potentially preventing teacher layoffs and other budget cuts, he said.
The second round of ESSER funding, which amounted to $5.5 billion, has not been distributed to Texas public school districts.
By William C. Wadsack

Editor, Plano

William joined Community Impact Newspaper in December 2019. He previously served as managing editor of several daily and weekly publications in North Texas and his native state of Louisiana.