Ballard school board approves spending plan for federal aid
The Ballard Community School District's plan for spending more than $727,000 in federal aid includes more teachers, tutoring, tech support and mental health services.
Ballard's school board approved the district's ESSER III spending plan Monday night.
States have distributed to districts three rounds of emergency coronavirus relief money from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, or ESSER.
Ballard was allocated $727,138 of ESSER III funding, 20% of which must be used to address learning loss caused by the pandemic.
That equates to $145,427.60, though Superintendent Ottie Maxey said by the time all is said and done, the district will use significantly more than that.
More on other districts' spending plans:
- Roland-Story schools aim next round of federal pandemic aid at summer learning, special education teachers
- Ames district's plan for spending COVID relief money is taking shape. It's due before the start of school
Maxey said the plan approved Monday is more a guide for the district than a certainty, and he has the flexibility to update the board with changes.
As of the plan approved Monday, the full $145,427.60 that has to be put toward learning loss will be used over the next two fiscal years for before and afterschool tutoring for students who have fallen behind.
Another $278,981.60 was approved to be used over the next three fiscal years to hire more teachers to reduce class sizes.
Maxey said that's a need he identified after speaking with administrators, especially in grades K-5, and particularly in the first and third grades.
Other needs were identified through a community survey, he said.
All ESSER III funds must be spent by June 30, 2024.
Once the federal funding is no longer available, it's the district's plan to pay for new positions by attrition or projected future revenues.
Monday's plan also includes $124,558.62 for technology and support, $90,256.54 to contract a third school-based mental health therapist who would join the other two already on site every day and $87,913.64 for enhanced cleaning and sanitation — all totals planned to be spent over the next two fiscal years.
Phillip Sitter covers education for the Ames Tribune, including Iowa State University and PreK-12 schools in Ames and elsewhere in Story County. Phillip can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. He is on Twitter @pslifeisabeauty.