PALMDALE — Palmdale School District trustees unanimously adopted a $51.16 million Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) III expenditure plan that includes an estimated $34.79 million for strategies for continuous and safe in-person learning.
“The ESSER is just another way that the US government has stepped in to support the schools during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Chief Business Officer Frances Ufondu said during a presentation before the Board at Tuesday’s meeting.
The one-time funding is under the American Rescue Plan Act approved by Congress in March. School districts are required to explain how they will use the funds to address students’ academic, social, emotional and mental health needs as well as any opportunity gaps that existed before and were worsened by the pandemic.
Palmdale School District received more than $51.16 million. The District developed its plan with input from stakeholders. The plan must be adopted by the Board on or before Oct. 29 and submitted to the Los Angeles Office of Education for approval before it can receive the funds. The District has until Sept. 30, 2024, to spend the funds.
As required, the spending plan includes an estimated $10.78 million, or 20%, to address lost instructional time. The remaining 80% must be used to support the District’s efforts to respond to COVID-19.
Under strategies for continuous and safe in-person learning, the plan includes an estimated $12.56 million to enhance ventilation for indoor air quality at nine schools sites including Buena Vista Elementary School, Shadow Hills Magnet Academy and Palmdale Learning Plaza. There is also an estimated $15.60 million for facility repairs for improved corridor for social distancing, wall replacement and carpet upgrade the four footprint schools including Cimarron, Mesquite, Ocotillo and Summerwind elementary schools.
To help address the impact of lost instructional time, the District will use an estimated $3.29 million for expanding learning time and targeted support opportunities in and outside of the school day. Fourth- through eighth-grade students will have 24-hour access to a professional tutoring website.
The District will allocate about $20,000 for the Model Union Nation and other leadership programs The District will also pay half the cost for fifth-grade students to attend Outdoor Science Camp. The plan also includes an estimated $1.05 million for mental health services and wraparound support to improve socio-emotional learning.
“This money is going to run out in 2024 and we want to stretch it as much as possible,” Ufondu said.