ESSER funds end soon, limiting summer school curriculum and threatening some jobs

BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) – Pandemic funding is set to end soon for several Florida schools, including Bay District schools.

The end of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds will affect the upcoming summer school curriculum as well as certain jobs.

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“We’ve had summer school at all of our campuses over the past few years. This year, because we have spent the majority of our covid money, ESSER money previously and throughout the time period this year, we have certain schools that are going to have summer programs this year,” BDS Teaching & Learning Deputy Superintendent Denise Kelley said.

The district had to make some changes to the summer school curriculum as ESSER funding comes to an end this September, and only certain students will be able to participate.

“This year we’re only serving those third grade students that have the level one reading. In the past, we’ve served more students because we’ve had the opportunity to do that. This year, especially for third grade and elementary, it’s going to be third-grade summer reading camp,” Kelley said.

The extended school year programs for students with special needs has limitations as well.

“If the students have regressed during a certain time period or the students have indicated they need a certain level to maintain that learning from between time periods, then summer school is offered for students with disabilities, but there are specific criteria for that. The parents have already been contacted for those students that qualify,” Kelley said.

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The end of ESSER funding could mean the end of certain jobs within the school district as well.

“The district is looking right now at budgets to decide which positions, and looking at return on investment, which positions do we need to keep? Do we need to find additional funding out of our general funds or other funds that are available to us, and which positions are going to end?” Kelley said.

The extended school year programs as well as elementary school summer reading camps will begin June 4th.

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