Trustees receive report on federal ESSER funds

By George Slaughter, News Editor
Posted 6/23/22

The Katy Independent School District is exceeding federally mandated requirements for pandemic-related funding it has received from the federal government, a district official said Monday.

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Trustees receive report on federal ESSER funds

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The Katy Independent School District is exceeding federally mandated requirements for pandemic-related funding it has received from the federal government, a district official said Monday.

Christine Caskey is the district’s chief academic officer. She gave an update on the pandemic-related federal funding at Monday’s school trustee meeting.

Caskey said the purpose of the program was to help safely reopen and sustain the safe operation of schools. In addition, the program is to address the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on students.

Caskey said there are three federal stimulus laws when discussing the Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief (ESSER):

  • ESSER I is the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which provided approximately $5.3 million to the district. The money is fully supplanted by the state.
  • ESSER II is the Coronavirus Response and Relief Appropriations (CRSSA) Act, which is to provide approximately $29 million to the district. A portion of this money is supplanted by the state.
  • ESSER III is the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act of 2021, which is to provide approximately $67 million to the district.

Caskey said there are three areas in which the money could be spent: the safe return to school, dealing with learning loss, and student well-being. She said federal rules required that 20% of the money had to be spent on activities relating to the last two categories, dealing with learning loss and student well-being.

The district is exceeding those expectations. Caskey said 40% of the money from ESSER II and 50% of the money from ESSER III are being spent on these categories.

“With a student population of just over 90,000 students, the remaining $96 million equals approximately $1,000 per student, just to help to give you some perspective,” Caskey told trustees.

She said about 45% of the ESSER II money has been spent and 20% of the ESSER III money has been spent.

Safe return to school

Caskey said the district has purchased supplies to sanitize and clean facilities. The district has also developed strategies and implemented public health protocols for the reopening and operation of school facilities.

Dealing with learning loss

Caskey said the district has performed a number of activities to deal with learning loss during the pandemic. These activities include:

  • Implementing activities to address the unique needs of special populations of students.
  • Providing mental health services and supports.
  • Implementing activities related to summer learning and afterschool programs.
  • Administering and using high-quality assessments.
  • Implementing activities to address the comprehensive needs of students.
  • Providing information and assistance to parents and families on effectively supporting students.

Student well-being

Caskey said 13 social workers have interacted with 747 students, consulted with 480 students and provided support to 43 district campuses. She said behavior intervention is provided support that focused on classroom management and positive behavior support. The support also included interventions for individual students.

Caskey said the district plans to continue gathering feedback and monitor progress. She said a semi-annual public comment, along with a board update, is planned for the December trustee meeting.

Also at Monday's meeting, trustees met in executive session to receive a safety and security update from district officials.

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