5 ways to use ESSER funds to create cleaner environments

Funding is often schools’ biggest obstacle when it comes to enhancing the learning environment beyond the basics.

The Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) fund is providing a significant influx of resources for schools across the nation. However, an interesting problem revealed itself as schools find themselves struggling to decide how to spend the largely unexpected funds. In fact, according analysis of the federal ESSER data by the National Conference of State Legislatures, only 19.1 percent of the program’s funding has been used as of Feb. 28, 2022.

The relief package, which provided nearly $190.5 billion to the ESSER Fund through three separate stimulus bills, is incredibly helpful and impactful in addressing the impact that COVID-19 has on schools across the U.S. For many schools, which are historically underfunded and lacked resources, this money gives them the opportunity to make facility updates that have been needed for years.…Read More

What’s keeping districts from spending COVID relief funding?

2020 and 2021 saw $190 billion in federal relief funds go to schools through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER).

But why aren’t schools spending the money? The answer–or, more accurately, answers–offers a glimpse into the complicated state of post-COVID education.

Districts received funds based on their Title I funding, and ESSER funds must be spent by September 2024. While many districts have planned how they’ll use their funding, they have not actually spent it to date.…Read More

Reducing school emergency response times with X-ray vision

Recent high-profile school emergencies have brought school safety to the forefront of the national conversation once more. Across the country, communities are debating the merits of a wide range of solutions, from staffing schools with armed guards and arming teachers, to instituting video monitoring of school buildings and grounds.

Cellular phone use in schools is prevalent, and some parent groups advocate for use of this popular technology because it can ensure mobile communications both indoors and outdoors. Most cellular emergency systems link student cell phone numbers and school eMail addresses together in order to broadcast emergency alerts. However, cellular coverage often varies by school district, and cellular technology cannot adequately locate mobile phone users indoors.

Video surveillance is another popular security enhancement to schools. Video has long been used to monitor school grounds, offering superior situational awareness to help first responders address emergencies. Cameras serve a dual purpose by capturing video footage during emergencies, and by deterring violence. However, CCTV systems do require ongoing staffing and can be costly for smaller schools.…Read More