Emergency COVID-19 Relief Funds
PLEASE NOTE: This website is designed to be a source of information for interested community members. The goal is to help our community gain an understanding of what ESSER funds are, what they can and cannot be used for, how much the district has available, how much we have spent, and what has been purchased. This site will be updated periodically to reflect new and updated information. The district will continue to add details for transparency and clarity.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government has provided schools throughout the country with access to three rounds of Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief (ESSER) Funds: ESSER I, ESSER II, and ESSER III. ESSER III funding includes a requirement to spend at least 20% on learning recovery. The Pasco School District has been awarded the following amounts for the various rounds of funding.
September 30, 2022
September 30, 2023
ESSER III (80%)
September 30, 2024
ESSER III (20%)
September 30, 2024
Important Details and Allowable Use Examples
- Funds are only accessed through reimbursement
- One-time funding source, not a long-term funding commitment
- Used to prevent, prepare for, or respond to the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Including the social, emotional, mental health and academic needs of students
- Supplies, personal protective equipment, instructional materials, invest in connectivity and hardware, purchasing educational technology
- Revenue loss (unrealized enrollment, bus transportation, nutrition services)
- Activities necessary to maintain the operation of and continuity of services in districts and continuing to employ existing staff
- Providing mental health services and supports
- Training and professional development for staff
- Addressing learning loss (extended summer school, after-school programs, tutoring, targeted assessments and interventions)
- School facility repairs and improvements (including capital purchases), and improving indoor air quality in school facilities
- Temporary staffing to accelerate learning and focus on learning recovery
- Health aid staffing
- Address unique needs of marginalized students (low-income, disabilities, language learners, homeless, etc.
For more detailed guidance and comprehensive statewide information on COVID-19 please visit the OSPI website.Pasco School District’s Approach
Initially, districts thought ESSER I funds were the only relief funds that would be available. The Pasco School District (PSD), along with most districts in the state and nation, took a very conservative approach on how to spend the funds. Even though most schools throughout the state were closed for in-person instruction on March 17, 2020 and districts were incurring expenses related to the beginning of the pandemic, many waited to see what guidance came out to then see how best to utilize the funding.
It wasn’t until January of 2021 that PSD made it’s first claim for ESSER I funds for the various PPE, technology, and remote learning costs seen below. As the guidance developed and additional funding was announced, the district then made its second and final claim against the ESSER I funds in October of 2021 for the revenue loss noted in the chart below.
ESSER fund expenditures focused on getting materials to students while learning from home. Technology deployment, meal delivery, and learning materials were of significant importance early on.
As the pandemic continued and grew in duration, the social, emotional, mental, and academic health of students became even more important. Guidance was ever changing around masks, distancing, athletics, vaccinations, etc. How quickly could students safely return and stay in school became the focus. ESSER funds were crucial in purchasing furniture to rearrange rooms, maximize shared spaces, and get students back to schools. HVAC and ventilation expenses rose to meet the demands of air quality and circulation. Testing to get staff and students back in schools was an important area of focus in the use of ESSER funds.
PSD continues to find ways to address the needs of the whole child and is committed to utilizing ESSER funds to meet those needs.
Additional explanations of some of the key expenditures of ESSER funds at the district can be found below.
Expanded Digital Learning Academy offerings – The Pasco School District has utilized significant funding to expand the existing Internet Pasco Academy of Learning (iPAL). The district also launched Pasco Innovative eXperiences & e-Learning (PIXeL), Pasco Parent Partnership (P3), and Virtual New Horizon programs. The district has purchased an existing building to house COVID health responders and equipment as well as house those teachers educating students in a digital environment. The facility will be a place for those participating in the Digital Learning Academy to come and interact with staff and students when needed.
The district is expanding the presence of a long-time partner, Communities in Schools, to more schools throughout the district. Their influence on our students and community directly aligns with ESSER fund goals.
In other efforts to address the mental health of students, the district has partnered with Hazel Health to provide additional mental health services. There have been several board meeting presentations on this topic if you would like to learn more. Building principals and staff can help point you in the right direction in accessing these services.
Additional tutoring services outside the normal school day have been made available to students and families through TutorMe. These services are above and beyond the work our current staff are doing through assessments, interventions, and in school tutoring. Building principals and staff will be able to help you access these services should you choose.
The district continues to employ health aides and staffing throughout the district to ensure staff and students are safe when staff and/or students show signs and symptoms of or even test positive for COVID-19.
Technology continues to be an important piece in addressing the pandemic-related challenges of educating students. The district was already on its way to a 1 to 1 Device Initiative but had not yet pushed that to the Elementary School level. The pandemic accelerated that need and many computers and increased support for the added inventory have been an added cost to the district.
PPE and social distancing requirements challenged the district to get creative in the utilization of existing spaces. Furniture and classroom rearrangements were necessary to maximize the number of students in classrooms and other shared spaces. Additional chairs and desks were needed as existing desks and chairs did not allow the district to maintain the required social distancing requirements.
Many of the HVAC systems throughout the district were unable to keep up with the higher demands of increased airflow and filtration. ESSER funds have allowed for the replacement of and updates to key components of these systems to keep up with the new air quality requirements.
Staffing costs have continued to be a significant use of ESSER funds, especially when asked to retain jobs during a time of enrollment decline due to the pandemic. It is normal for districts across the state and nation to have staffing cost be 80-85% of their total operating budget. Pasco Schools are no different. Engaging staff in new innovative ways to engage in student assessment and learning requires additional work. Staff costs include the Digital Learning Academy offerings, health aids and nurses, and the additional work required to address, respond, and prepare for the education of students and staff during the pandemic.
The Pasco School District appreciates your interest in the way we have utilized the one-time emergency funding and hope this has helped you find the answers you seek. Keep checking back to this webpage for the most updated information.