The Maryland State Department of Education launched a dedicated website for the Local Education Agency (LEA) which reported expenditures of federal resources from the Elementary Schools Emergency Relief Fund and secondary (ESSER).
As part of its “commitment to budget management and transparency,” the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) today released a statewide website on expenditures reported by the Local Education Agency (LEA) of federal resources from the Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER).
According to a Press release:
The website contains federal revenue data and information, contextualizes the amount of federal revenue with other state and local LEA spending, provides visualizations of how much pandemic funding each LEA has spent, to date , by category, and includes an option to download source data files.
The U.S. Department of Education’s distribution of ESSER funds allows LEAs to report on spending and performance through 2024. Data trends indicate that LEAs in Maryland are spending relief funds at the expected rate, which challenges claims that school districts are not spending resources fast enough. LEAs spend funds first received first with over 90% of ESSER funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) now spent.
A particularly interesting feature of the new website presents local spending by category and by county.
“MSDE recognizes how instrumental COVID relief funds have been in supporting Maryland schools during the pandemic and recovery. District spending reflects an intentional focus on safe, full-time, in-person education, emotional and social health supports, and accelerating student learning and achievement,” said the Superintendent of Schools. of the state, Mohammed Choudhury. “Strategic and deliberate planning is required to deploy these federal resources in the most effective manner. This requires a measured implementation process, which Maryland LEAs work diligently to ensure.
To date, Maryland has received over $3.2 billion in ESSER funding. These resources have been divided among the three federal emergency pandemic recovery acts:
- Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act – ESSER I
- Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplementary Appropriations Act (CRRSA) – ESSER II
- American Bailout Act (ARP) – ESSER III
According to the MSDE press release, local jurisdictions across the state have so far spent ESSER funds as follows:
ESSER spending trends to date show that initial LEA spending was on average focused on non-personal costs related to personal protective equipment (PPE), student devices, and Wi-Fi connectivity. ESSER II Funding and ESSER III, on the other hand, has on average shifted towards personnel-related costs to directly support academic and behavioral health interventions that address learning loss and accelerate student learning. Funds used to cover staff costs include allowances and additional salaries for teachers providing tutoring interventions, staff costs for daytime and extended summer learning activities, and salaries for janitors and guards, essential to ensure safe learning environments. The LEAs have also invested heavily in some ESSER resources to kick-start work related to the Blueprint.