Updated August 2022

Leander ISD has received federal stimulus dollars to help offset unexpected costs caused by the pandemic.

The federal dollars are provided by the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) fund. ESSER is distributed as four separate programs: ESSER I, ESSER II, ESSER III and ESSER Supplemental.

ESSER provides resources for:

  • critical one-time investments;
  • time-limited programming to respond to the pandemic;
  • and innovation that can redefine student learning, acceleration, and development.

Engaging the public

To help determine how to use the ESSER funds, Leander ISD embarked on an extensive outreach to stakeholders, which included the following: 

  • Conducted surveys to district-level staff
  • Conducted surveys to campus-level staff
  • Conducted surveys to parents
  • Sent direct communication to staff, parents, and students to gather input
  • Reviewed and analyzed data from local and state health authorities
  • Reviewed documented comprehensive needs assessment considering the pandemic to determine needs
  • Consulted with local school board to determine needs
  • Followed documented emergency plan with specific needs assessment processes 

The following processes were utilized to prioritize needs with specific focus on: 

  • Needs serving the largest number of students
  • Serving needs of identified student groups (at-risk, migrant, immigrant, students with disabilities, English Learners, Homeless, Foster, etc.)
  • Facility needs
  • School operational needs
  • Technology needs

ESSER Public Feedback: Opportunity for Public Feedback Log

Identified priorities 

  • Addressing learning needs among students, including low-income students, students with disabilities, English learners, racial and ethnic minorities, student experiencing homelessness, and children in foster care
  • Administering and using high-quality assessments
  • Implementing evidence-based activities to meet the comprehensive needs of students
  • School facility repairs and improvements to enable operation of schools to reduce risk of virus transmission and exposure to environmental health hazards, and to support student health needs
  • Inspection, testing, maintenance, repair, replacement, and upgrade projects to improve the indoor air quality in school facilities, including: filtering, purification and other air cleaning, fans, control systems
  • Other activities that are necessary to maintain the operation of and continuity of services in the LEA
  • Other activities that are necessary to continuing to employ existing staff of the LEA

Note: To ensure continuity of services, ESSER I and ESSER II funds replaced previously funded state aid.

What is our comprehensive ESSER plan?

Leander ISD’s ESSER plan will address students’ needs and accelerate progress toward our 2023 goals through the following strategies:

Students sit in class

Healthy Students, Healthy Schools and Healthy Community

Focus on physical, mental, and emotional health. The district plans to allocate 9 percent ($3,138,558) of its ESSER funds to the following strategies:

ESSER Supplemental2021–222022–23
Temporary Clinic Assistants to Contact Trace on Campuses$15,000
Air Quality Improvements: Merv Filter Cost$816,660$1,690,000
Recess Carts for Elementary to Facilitate Social Engagement$20,128
Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendment (CLIA) Certificate of Waiver for Contact Tracing on Campuses$180
Mental Health Specialists$120,000
Cleaning Supplies$87,780
ESSER III2021–222022–23
Additional Elementary Counselors$149,512$149,512
Mental Health Specialists$72,171
Clinic health aid to assist with contact tracing$17,615

Students work on a tablet

Equitable Access to Learning & Enrichment

Focus on ensuring every student can fully engage with learning while also having access to outstanding enrichment opportunities. The equity-minded investment will help improve technology and expand opportunities for students to fully explore their passions. The district plans to allocate 14 percent ($4,703,325) of its ESSER funds to the following strategies:

ESSER II2021–222022–23
Virtual Teachers$1,631,483$1,033,360
Virtual School: Extra Class Sections$12,500
Virtual Teachers: Special Education$266,704
Virtual Assistant Principal$82,522$99,823
Virtual Counselor$71,566$76,284
Virtual Technology Specialist / Instructional Coach$69,420
Virtual Instructional Materials$17,749$26,350
Virtual Edgenuity Licenses$20,000$43,800
Virtual Software: RAZ Kids Plus$9,500
Virtual Software: Firelight$3,273
Virtual Learning: Professional Development for Virtual Teachers$12,000
Laptops for Virtual Teachers$25,240
ESSER III2021–222022–23
Software and Digital Resources Implemented Due to COVID$314,340$520,854
Special Education Software$31,729$31,729
Center for Educational Leadership Professional Development$31,860$31,860
Replacement of Technology due to COVID$239,289
Students collaborate

Learning Recovery & Acceleration

The strategy will help mitigate academic gaps caused by the pandemic. The district plans to allocate 30 percent ($10,693,270) of its ESSER funds to the following strategies: 

ESSER Supplemental2021–222022–23
Secondary Student Success Facilitators$1,735,438$2,506,644
Region 13: Reading Academies$72,000
Technology for Student Success Facilitators$44,660
Ultimate Speech Language Pathologist Online Application$936
Online Mathematics Intervention Software$111,385
MAP Growth Assessment (specific response to pandemic)$354,850
Universal Screener (IStation)$338,937
ESSER III2021–222022–23
Summer School Costs for Students Identified as Emergent Bilingual, At-risk, Special Education$319,768$620,913
Instructional Coaches for English Language Arts$1,963,108$1,963,108
Learning Management System Implementation$147,525$134,525
Digital Libraries$21,300
Technology / Furniture for New Positions$135,000
Professional Learning IStation Data$3,300

Maintenance of Operation & Continuity of Services

The remaining 45 percent ($15,210,631) ARP ESSER funds will be used for allowable activities that are necessary to maintain the operation and continuity of services in the district and that are necessary for continuing to employ existing staff.

ESSER Supplemental2021–222022–23
Remaining Funds to Address Needs Arising from the Pandemic$2,000,000$2,593,417
Indirect Costs$529,313$294,687
ESSER III2021–222022–232023–24
Teachers Assigned to Reduced Class Size$390,922$123,858
Remaining Funds to Address Needs Arising from the Pandemic$1,000,000$2,443,916
Indirect Costs$570,722$447,625
ESSER II2021–222022–23
Prekindergarten Instructional Assistants$621,598
Special Education Teacher$66,929
Texas Teachers of Tomorrow Contract and Testing Fees$89,700
Remaining Funds to Address Needs Arising from the Pandemic$3,671,831
Indirect Costs$366,063

Next Steps

  1. Seek on-going and meaningful consultation from the community during the November 2022 Board Meeting.
  2. Adjust plan as needed based on feedback obtained during Listening Leader Sessions. Per State guidance, the district’s ESSER III funds will be reviewed at least every six months until Sept. 30, 2023 and amendments made as deemed necessary.
  3. Finalize the evaluation and progress monitoring system for the programs and activities.
  4. Collect documentation for audit and monitoring purposes on each activity.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of the ARP ESSER funds?

The purpose of ESSER is to award subgrants to local educational agencies (LEAs) to address the impact that COVID-19 has had, and continues to have, on elementary and secondary schools.

How much funding is available to Texas LEAs?

A total of $12,418,588,778 is available to the state. Ninety percent, or $11,176,729,900, will be awarded to eligible LEAs. Note that only two-thirds of the total state allocation ($8,279,059,186) is available at this time.

How will LEAs know their grant amounts?

Grant allocations will be posted on the Grants Administration Entitlements webpage.

What is the funding period for ARP ESSER funds grants?

Funds may be used for allowable activities from March 13, 2020 (with approved pre-award) through Sept. 30, 2023.

What are the requirements pertaining to the LEA ESSER Use of Funds Plan?

  • The LEA must engage in meaningful consultation with stakeholders and give the public an opportunity to provide input in the development of its plan for the uses of ARP ESSER funds.
  • The LEA must provide its plan for the uses of ARP ESSER funds in an understandable and uniform format.
  • The LEA’s plan for the uses of ARP ESSER funds will be posted to the LEA’s website within 30 days of receiving its ESSER Notice of Grant Award.

Are the ESSER funds required to be used for specific purposes?

Yes, LEAs must expend a minimum of 20 percent of their grant funds on:

  • Evidence-based interventions, such as summer learning, extended day comprehensive after school programs, or extended school year programs; and
  • Ensure interventions respond to students’ academic, social, and emotional needs and address the disproportionate impact of coronavirus on student populations as defined in ESEA, Title I, Part A, students experiencing homelessness, and youth in foster care.

Are there recommended uses of ESSER funds that will assist LEAs in addressing the impact of the COVID pandemic and disruptions to learning?

While keeping in mind the purpose and requirements under ESSER related to accelerating student learning, TEA strongly encourages school districts to plan to use these one-time federal funds expeditiously over the entire covered period to facilitate a more comprehensive long-term approach to learning acceleration. 

This may include aligned strategies that are currently part of a district’s current plans and strategies. A qualitative review of draft local learning acceleration plans revealed the following trends and suggestions, including but not limited to:

  • Professional Development: comprehensive Reading Academies, high-quality instructional materials, dyslexia training, professional development stipends, technology integration training;
  • Extended Instructional Time: summer learning, flexible skill-based tutorials
  • Staffing: tutors, reduced class sizes, small group instruction, staff retention and recruitment, stipends, after school enrichment programs, instructional coaching and leadership;
  • Facilities: ventilation, cleaning, HVAC systems, specialized instructional spaces;
  • Technology: devices, infrastructure upgrades, learning management systems, digital tools, educational application;
  • Mental Health and Behavioral Supports: social workers, family services team,  at-risk campus coordinators, additional counseling services, teacher training and programming, wrap-around and community partnerships.

What are some of the allowable uses of the ARP ESSER funds?

ESSER funds are designated to be used in any or all of 15 areas, which include addressing learning needs, providing professional development, improving indoor air quality, providing social and emotional supports, updating and providing technology, and others (FAQ from TEA)

Will the state provide replacement funds for ESSER after 2023?

Since the large influx of ESSER funding into LEAs can result in funding deficits when it ends, the LEA must plan for how to effectively and efficiently use the ESSER funds. It is recommended to use the ESSER grant funds for one-time or short-term expenditures to address the identified needs caused by the pandemic. Although long-term uses of the ESSER funds are also allowable, these types of uses may cause the LEA to not have funding to continue these  activities after the ESSER period of availability ends, thus creating fiscal deficits.