Winona ISD

Federal Grant Funding Opportunity

Volume 1, Issue 1

July 23, 2021

ESSER III Funding Plan

The intent and purpose of the ARP Act of 2021 (ESSER III) funding is to help safely reopen and sustain the safe operation of schools and address the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on students. The District must comply with specific requirements within the application to be considered for funding:

  1. Methodology used by the District to provide services or assistance to students and staff in public schools; and
  2. Uses of funds by the District and demonstration of their compliance with Section 2001, such as any use of funds to address required set-aside of at least 20% for learning loss mitigation, including through afterschool, summer school, extended day/year programs, targeted to ESEA subgroups, students experiencing homelessness, and children and youth in foster care.

ESSER III is authorized by American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act of 2021, Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER III) Fund.

ESSER III Allocation

Winona ISD's allocation of ESSER III federal grant funds is $4,000,701. The funds are divided into two eligibility periods. During the first eligibility period, 2/3 of the funds are available to be allocated - $2,667,134. During the second eligibility period, the final 1/3 of the funds become available. This amount will be $1,333,567.

There are a total of 28 allowable activities. Of the total allocation, at least 20% is required by law to be set aside for learning loss mitigation. For Winona ISD, that amount totals $800,140.20.

The funding plan described in this document includes a total of 22 allowable activities. In the aggregate, the funding plan includes a total of four (4) or 35.9% of the total allocation to address learning loss. The remaining 64.1% will be used for other activities in an effort to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The funding plan includes planned expenditures over a 3-year period: 2020-2021 through 2022-2023.

Winona ISD Stakeholder Input

Winona ISD engaged stakeholders in an opportunity to provide meaningful consultation through online surveys regarding the ESSER III grant opportunity on May 18, 2021, with a follow-up survey on July 14, 2021. The following were invited to participate in the survey:

  • Students
  • Parents and/or guardians
  • School district staff (campus, central, special education administrators), teachers, other educators, and auxiliary staff
  • Other stakeholders as designated in the ESSER III guidelines

Additional targeted surveys and focus groups were held to dig deeper into student academic and safety needs.

The Top 5 most identified areas include:

  1. Provide instructional materials, resources, activities, and outreach to meet the needs of students
  2. Provide specific intervention services to various groups of students to increase literacy, language, and vocabulary
  3. Provide technology updates and improve infrastructure and connectivity
  4. Provide updated water/sewage equipment to ensure safe and clean water for consumption and cleaning
  5. Provide social/emotional support and/or counseling services

The District used the quantitative and qualitative stakeholder input to develop a draft Funding Plan and Safe Return to In-Person Instruction Plan.

Safe Return to In-Person Instruction Plan

The Winona ISD "Return to Learn" Safe Return to In-Person Instruction Plan was initially developed during the summer of 2020 with stakeholder input. It has been continuously reviewed and revised as Texas Education Agency and CDC guidance has changed safety protocols over the past year.

The safety and well-being on all staff and visitors are a priority for Winona ISD as the district welcomes all students and campus-based personnel back to our campuses for the 2021-2022 school year. Winona ISD will not offer remote instruction for the 2021-2022 school year. All students will be required to attend school on campus unless a medical condition precludes attendance.

Winona ISD schools will continue to monitor and update practices and protocols based on recommendations by state and local agencies, CDC, and the Texas Education Agency. The goal is to collaboratively ensure that all students, employees, and visitors in district facilities remain safe and secure to the greatest extent possible.

ESSER III Allowable Program Activities

There are twenty-eight (28) allowable program activities under ESSER III. Of the 28 activities, there are 8 that address strategies to mitigate learning loss. Another 8 that address strategies related to the safe return to in-person instruction. The remaining activities are generally related to addressing the needs of the students and staff as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

There is great flexibility in the use of the funds over a span of five (5) fiscal years from 2019-2020 (effective March 13, 2020) through a roll-forward period of 2023-2024. the District has determined that it is in the best interests of the students to expend most of the funds to mitigate learning loss in the coming fiscal year, 2021-2022. Additional funds will be spent during the 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 school years to maintain the support created during the first year. In the event that 100% of the federal grant funds are not spent, the District will request to reallocate the unspent funds by filing for an amendment if necessary through the roll-forward period of 2023-2024.

The ESSER III Grant Application allows for amendments to the original grant application until July 5, 2023. As the District implements the grant activities and conducts ongoing planning, including review of stakeholder input, the District may amend the application to include allowable program activities.