Conroe ISD Deputy Superintendent Chris Hines reported the district will receive roughly $29 million in the second round of federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds. These funds will be available until 2023, he said.

CISD’s total allocation of ESSER funds is roughly $64.7 million. CISD’s initial allocation is two-thirds of that total, which is about $43 million, he said.

ESSER funds are provided to state educational agencies and school districts to help safely reopen and sustain the safe operation of schools. CISD intends to use ESSER II funds to respond to the pandemic and to address student learning loss as a result of the pandemic in the 2020-21 school year, district officials said.

A task force of 73 community members is working on submitting the application for the ESSER III grant award by late July, but they expect to be ready by early July to be approved by CISD Superintendent Curtis Null. The ESSER III funds can be used until 2024, officials said.

Information was collected from a public survey of teachers, counselors, students, nurses, administrators and employees CISD with responses on how to spend ESSER III funds.

Based on the responses, the most preferred interventions include after-school tutorials, summer school, targeted small groups and summer enrichment, according to information from the district. In addition, there was a desire for added technology, mobile connectivity, academic interventionists, behavioral support and online learning as ways to recover learning.

“We not only want to recover lost learning, [but] we don’t want to look up and see gaps re-emerging with our kids,” said Hines. “We don’t want to find out in three or four years from now that our most at-risk students are not taking upper-level courses because they got behind during the pandemic.”

In addition, Hines said since virtual schooling did not make it to the state legislative session, CISD families with students enrolled in its planned virtual school will no longer have that option for the 2021-22 school year. The virtual schooling is on hold for now as it may return in the 2022-23 school year and remains in the budget, he said.