The ARP ESSER III Fund was passed in March 2021, under the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act of 2021. ESSER III is expected to provide approximately $11,176,729,900 billion to Texas school districts.
Bushland ISD is eligible to receive a total of $815,117 from the ARP ESSER III Fund. To receive these funds, Bushland ISD is required to submit a grant application to the Texas Education Agency (TEA) by 5:00 p.m. July 27th, 2021. The grant will be awarded in two phases. In phase one, Bushland ISD will receive two-thirds of the total available grant, equaling to the amount of $543,411. In phase two, Bushland ISD will receive the remaining one-third of the total available grant, equaling to the amount of $271,706.
The ARP ESSER III funds may be used by the Local Education Agency (LEA) for the following:
LEA Use of ARP ESSER Funds
Of the total amount allocated to an LEA from the State’s ARP ESSER award, the LEA must reserve at least 20 percent of funds to address learning loss through the implementation of evidence-based interventions and ensure that those interventions respond to students’ social, emotional, and academic needs and address the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on underrepresented student subgroups (each major racial and ethnic group, children from low-income families, children with disabilities, English learners, gender, migrant students, students experiencing homelessness, and children and youth in foster care).
Remaining LEA funds may be used for a wide range of activities to address needs arising from the coronavirus pandemic, including any activity authorized by the ESEA, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA), or Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins CTE). Specifically, ARP ESSER funds may be used to develop strategies and implement public health protocols including, to the greatest extent practicable, policies in line with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on reopening and operating schools to effectively maintain the health and safety of students, educators, and other staff, as well as:
• coordinating preparedness and response efforts with State, local, Tribal, and territorial public health departments to prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19;
• training and professional development on sanitizing and minimizing the spread of infectious diseases; • purchasing supplies to sanitize and clean the LEA’s facilities;
• repairing and improving school facilities to reduce risk of virus transmission and exposure to environmental health hazards;
• improving indoor air quality;
• addressing the needs of children from low-income families, children with disabilities, English learners, racial and ethnic minorities, students experiencing homelessness, and foster care youth;
• developing and implementing procedures and systems to improve the preparedness and response efforts of LEAs;
• planning for or implementing activities during long-term closures, including providing meals to eligible students and providing technology for online learning;
• purchasing educational technology (including hardware, software, connectivity, assistive technology, and adaptive equipment) for students that aids in regular and substantive educational interaction between students and their classroom instructors, including students from low-income families and children with disabilities;
• providing mental health services and supports, including through the implementation of evidence-based full-service community schools and the hiring of counselors;
• planning and implementing activities related to summer learning and supplemental after-school programs;
• addressing learning loss; and
• other activities that are necessary to maintain operation of and continuity of and services, including continuing to employ existing or hiring new LEA and school staff
LEA Safe Return to In-Person Instruction Plan
An LEA that receives ARP ESSER funds must, within 30 days of receiving the funds, make publicly available on its website a plan for the safe return to in-person instruction and continuity of services. Before making the plan publicly available, the LEA must seek public comment on the plan.