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