‘Bring our kids back from the COVID learning loss’: Area school districts breakdown remaining ESSER funds

Published: Sep. 30, 2022 at 8:06 PM CDT
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - School districts across the Panhandle are breaking down what’s left of federal recovery funds from the pandemic.

Both Amarillo Independent School District and Canyon Independent School District received three phases of Elementary and Secondary School Relief Funds, known as ESSER.

Amarillo ISD receiving over $105 million in ESSER funds and has about two thirds remaining.

“Most of the spending has been right around 20 percent on attendance, hold harmless. 20 percent went out as retention stipends and those are going to be paid over the next three years to keep and retain quality teachers and teaching staff and we have 40 percent budgeted out at the campus level and that’s for ESSER tutoring to bring our kids back from the COVID learning loss,” said Daniel West, CFO, Amarillo ISD.

Canyon ISD has about $6.5 million left in ESSER III funds.

“We’re transitioning our district into Promethean, they’re interactive whiteboards, that allows the teachers to do a little bit different types of learning and so we’ve utilized those funds for this and then as well as air quality,” said Heather Wilson, assistant superintendent, business and operations, Canyon ISD.

A majority of its funding though is addressing loss in learning during the pandemic.

Both districts believe these funds along with its good teachers have helped the learning loss.

“All of our campuses have improved, we’re an A rated district,” said Wilson.

Amarillo ISD also saw an improvement in its score.

“I think it played out in our accountability, so we received an 89 on our accountability score for this year and I think that we’re hoping that that continues to improve,” said West.

School districts have until September 2024 to use these funds, as they do expire.