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LDOE releases plan outlining federal relief funds, how districts can spend them

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Posted at 2:13 PM, Aug 12, 2021

The Louisiana Department of Education has released a plan aimed at gaining some of the ground lost during the pandemic.

The plan, "Louisiana Comeback," asks individual school systems to spend their relief funds on three primary areas:

Attendance and Well-Being
Recovery and Acceleration
Professional Learning

The plan's website lists how much money each district or private school got in relief funding. Below are the figures posted there for Acadiana's parishes. NOTE: ESSER stands for Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund. It is federal funding.

Each round of ESSER funding will be released to systems over two action periods in order to meet federal requirements for awarding funds to Local Education Agencies (school boards) and support response efforts through 2024. The state also wants to ensure school systems are spending the first round of relief funding first.

ESSER I funds were received in April and June of 2020, while the first 50% of ESSER II funding was allocated in March 2021. The remaining 50% will be sent in January 2022. 20% of ESSER III funds was allocated in March 2021 as well, and the remaining 80% is yet to be determined.

The state is obligated to allocate ESSER II funds within a year of receiving them, which will be January 2022; ESSER III funds should be awarded no later than 60 days after the state receives them.

The state has a set obligation period, a planned timeline, for which each round of funding is to be expended. ESSER I: September 30, 2022; ESSER II: September 30, 2023; ESSER III: September 30, 2024.

Acadia Parish

Acadia Parish School Board

ESSER I Allocation
$4,714,739

ESSER II Allocation
$16,836,251

ESSER III Allocation
$37,811,829

Calcasieu Parish

Calcasieu Parish School Board

ESSER I Allocation
$10,108,849

ESSER II Allocation
$34,774,680

ESSER III Allocation
$78,098,991

Lake Charles Charter Academy

ESSER I Allocation
$350,463

ESSER II Allocation
$1,463,864

ESSER III Allocation
$3,287,631

Lake Charles College Prep

ESSER I Allocation
$156,101

ESSER II Allocation
$557,436

ESSER III Allocation
$1,251,922

Southwest Louisiana Charter Academy

ESSER I Allocation
$296,388

ESSER II Allocation
$1,058,396

ESSER III Allocation
$2,377,007

Evangeline Parish

Evangeline Parish School Board

ESSER I Allocation
$2,794,120

ESSER II Allocation
$9,977,756

ESSER III Allocation
$22,408,622

Iberia Parish

Iberia Parish School Board

ESSER I Allocation
$4,670,286

ESSER II Allocation
$20,057,162

ESSER III Allocation
$45,045,538

Jefferson Davis Parish

Jefferson Davis Parish School Board

ESSER I Allocation
$1,405,721

ESSER II Allocation
$5,019,804

ESSER III Allocation
$11,273,766

Lafayette Parish

Lafayette Parish School Board

ESSER I Allocation
$10,299,336

ESSER II Allocation
$36,753,379

ESSER III Allocation
$82,542,868

Jcfa - Lafayette

ESSER I Allocation
$21,569

ESSER II Allocation
$74,675

ESSER III Allocation
$167,710

Acadiana Renaissance Charter Academy

ESSER I Allocation
$297,422

ESSER II Allocation
$1,083,666

ESSER III Allocation
$2,433,760

Lafayette Renaissance Charter Academy

ESSER I Allocation
$325,942

ESSER II Allocation
$1,307,037

ESSER III Allocation
$2,935,418

Willow Charter Academy

ESSER I Allocation
$325,781

ESSER II Allocation
$1,123,952

ESSER III Allocation
$2,524,235

St. Landry Parish

St. Landry Parish School Board

ESSER I Allocation
$6,652,721

ESSER II Allocation
$31,977,023

ESSER III Allocation
$71,815,851

J. S. Clark Leadership Academy

ESSER I Allocation
$121,965

ESSER II Allocation
$427,462

ESSER III Allocation
$960,020

St. Martin Parish

St. Martin Parish School Board

ESSER I Allocation
$2,616,469

ESSER II Allocation
$9,343,366

ESSER III Allocation
$20,983,874

St. Mary Parish

St. Mary Parish School Board

ESSER I Allocation
$3,030,957

ESSER II Allocation
$10,670,526

ESSER III Allocation
$23,964,485

V. B. Glencoe Charter School

ESSER I Allocation
$127,594

ESSER II Allocation
$455,638

ESSER III Allocation
$1,023,297

Vermilion Parish

Vermilion Parish School Board

ESSER I Allocation
$2,629,062

ESSER II Allocation
$9,576,942

ESSER III Allocation
$21,508,452

We've reached out to superintendents for updates on plans for the funds. All districts are in the process of finalizing plans, which are due to the state by September. We'll update this story as we receive responses.

St. Mary Parish: The St. Mary Parish School Board adopted a Strategic Plan initiated in the 2021-2022 school year that outlines our priorities and as a result, the use of funds to accomplish these priorities.

The LDOE will be providing school systems with a template for the development of a local “Comeback Plan” in the coming week, which will potentially further adjust district actions and allocations of federal dollars.

"I'm excited to see the tremendous progress our students will make by school systems collectively focusing their funds, time and effort into areas that bolster student achievement," said Dr. Cade Brumley, State Superintendent of Education. "Louisiana school systems have received about $4 billion dollars of stimulus funds to support efforts like these, and we need to use our one-time resources well. We must utilize the dollars to get us through this tough time and prepare our state to be better post-pandemic."

A release states that "Louisiana Comeback" aims to encourage the creation of engaging, belonging, and risk-free environments for students. LDOE believes that instituting well-being policies enhances intrinsic motivation, decreases disciplinary problems, increases academic achievement, improves school satisfaction, and leads to thriving individuals, communities, and nations. Simply stated, those who feel better can learn better.

The release states that "Louisiana Comeback'' incentivizes schools to invest in activities that recover and accelerate student learning, reducing instructional loss from the past two school years and helping put students back on track. For example, the campaign promotes massive efforts around tutoring, literacy intervention, graduation planning, and afterschool and summer programs.

The plan also suggests schools implement policies that allow teachers to have regular and devoted time to collaborate around their craft as well as professional learning opportunities.

The plan says schools that make gains in certain areas will be given the label of "Comeback Campus."

Those areas include:

Increases in percent of students scoring mastery and above on the statewide assessment
Decreases in percent of students scoring unsatisfactory on the statewide assessment
Increase in student ACT scores

Schools that receive the "Comeback Campus" designation gain a variety of benefits, such as: will funds for evidence-based activities, the chance to be part of research studies, the chance to be part of discussions with the state superintendent, the chance to lead sessions at state and national education conferences, and a ceremony with a banner.

LDOE is developing a fiscal dashboard to report how the state and school systems are budgeting and spending pandemic relief funds. The aim, officials say, is to ensure:

Investments have a collective impact - from the state to classrooms
Planning is outcomes, strategic and priorities-based
Transparency and accountability remain the top priority

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