The PISD board of trustees during its regular meeting Nov. 9 gave its notice of intent to apply for the remaining funds of its ESSER III grant, giving district residents a chance to speak on what they feel the final $4.2 million of ESSER III funds should be used for. No one spoke at the public hearing Nov. 9.
The district provided a survey through the ESSER program web page; the district’s website and social media pages; and direct emails to district employees, parents and students from Oct. 15 through Oct. 27 to gauge public comment on the ESSER funds, according to meeting documents.
The district asked those surveyed to rank their choices for fund usages by category, which were split up in learning loss and non-learning loss, according to meeting documents. PISD received 1,821 responses.
For the learning loss category, the choice identified as the most important by those surveyed was for the district to provide instructional materials, including digital resources, activities and outreach to meet the academic needs of students, according to meeting documents. The second was to provide resources and tools to help students, parents and families improve student engagement and academic success.
The third was to aid services for students with disabilities that were disrupted due to COVID-19. The fourth was to provide social and emotional counseling support to students.
Providing extended school hours, summer enrichment, tutoring and staff development to accelerate learning came in last, according to board documents.
In the non-learning loss category, there were only three choices, of which providing funding to fill gaps in the budget caused by the pandemic was No. 1. Providing HVAC filters and facility updates ranked as No. 2, and providing cleaning supplies, personal protective equipment and staff training on safety procedures came in last, meeting documents read.
PISD will now use the survey feedback to prioritize the use of funds for the second allocation portion and begin drafting the application, according to meeting documents.
The district will take the input it has received from the public to prioritize what it will use for the second portion of ESSER III funds, PISD Superintendent John Kelly said.