Georgia Department of Education Launches Dashboard to Show How Schools Are Using COVID-19 Relief Money


Georgia Department of Education (GDOE) officials have developed an ESSER funding dashboard that they say reveals to the public how the state’s school districts use federal COVID-19 relief funds.

This, according to a press release that GDOE officials emailed Wednesday.

The dashboard is available on GDOE’s COVID-19 resource site. The dashboard allows members of the public to see the amount of ESSER funds a school district has received, the number of submitted budgets approved, and time remaining in the grant period.

“Georgia school districts have received three rounds of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) funding – through the CARES Act in May 2020, the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act in January 2021, and the American Rescue Plan in March 2021. The dashboard shows spending under all three rounds of ESSER funding,” the press release said.

“The funds distributed to school districts total $5,938,770,343. Twenty percent of the third round of funding must be used to address student learning loss; the remainder of the funds are flexible and can be used to support at-risk student populations, distance/remote learning, school meals, mental and physical health, supplemental learning, facilities and equipment, continuity of core staff and services, and more.”

GDOE officials also said in the press release that they are working with the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education (GPEE) to examine the use of ESSER funds in Georgia. Running through June 2025, the goals of the project are to:

• Understand how districts use federal relief funds and the impact they have on district practice and, where feasible, students.

• Generate knowledge and lessons learned about student support strategies – academic and nonacademic – deployed by districts including a focus on those that boost staff and organizational capacity, leverage internal and community resources, and are embedded into district practice to maximize sustainability.

• Surface information on factors that influence the selection and implementation of support strategies, which may include district capacity, leadership changes, external constraints, or community input.

• Identify compelling stories from Georgia schools about the pandemic’s impact on students and how educators are meeting their needs.

• Provide a shared-learning network for community leaders to learn from each other and raise awareness of best practice work already happening across the state of Georgia through GPEE’s established Rural Learning Networks.

“The project will include surveys of all school districts in 2022, 2023, and 2024 to capture information on their use of federal COVID-19 relief funds; stakeholder interviews to more closely examine issues identified in the survey; developing case studies with an in-depth analysis of the use and impact of funds; and stakeholder roundtables, briefings, and presentations to lift up best practices and what’s working in Georgia school districts,” the press release said.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Georgia State Capitol” by Connor Carey CC BY 2.0.




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