An Update on ESSER Funding, and the Proposal for 2023-24

By Office of Communication and Community Relations
May 03, 2023

In the fall of 2021, FCPS received $188.8 million in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER III) funding to support the safe operation of schools and address the impacts of COVID-19 on students. 

FCPS has an intentional multi-year plan to ensure maximum value from the ESSER funding it received to assist with the post-pandemic recovery. 

Last week, Sloan Presidio, chief academic officer for FCPS, presented the proposed ESSER expenditures for the 2023-24 school year, the last year of ESSER funding. This funding is in addition to the FCPS operating budget and is specifically targeting the impacts of COVID-19. 

The proposed plan presented at the recent School Board Meeting is intended to maximize the dollars remaining in our funding. At least 20% of the funding must be spent toward unfinished learning. The proposed plan has nearly 80% of ESSER funds allocated to support student learning needs. 

In FCPS those funds have been used toward expanded summer learning and tutoring services directed to the students with greatest academic need. More than 30,000 students participated in summer learning programs the last two years. And in a single year, about 40% of students deemed to need the highest degree of intervention saw marked improvement through high impact tutoring—a tutor working with small groups of students over a prolonged period of time. 

Some of the recommended projects for remaining funding include the continuation of special education teacher contract funding, funding school-based wellness and SEL staff; academic interventions both at the school-level and through centrally assigned academic tutors; summer learning programs; school health coordinator; and a provider to address chronic absenteeism.