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ESSER in Action: July 2024

Omaha Public Schools is committed to providing regular updates on our use of federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds.  

ESSER funds reached school districts in three rounds: ESSER-I, ESSER-II and ESSER-III. ESSER-I ended in September 2022, and ESSER-II ended in September 2023 with all funds successfully invested and reimbursed. The deadline for ESSER-III spending is September 30, 2024.

Finalizing ESSER-III Spending 

As of May 31, 2024, we have spent 59% of our ESSER-III grant total. This amounts to $115.6 million of the $194.56 million grant.  

In May, staff received the final retention stipends provided through ESSER funding. Our district has recognized the value of this important tool in maintaining our staffing capacity. Beginning in 2024-25 staff will see the stipend amount rolled into their regular pay as part of our general fund budget. Final staff-related ESSER-III spending will include compensation for plan time, student teacher and cooperating teacher stipends, training opportunities and technology upgrades.  

This summer, Omaha Public Schools will receive a large amount of new student textbooks and learning materials funded through ESSER-III. Students will begin the 2024-25 school year using new materials for K-12 computer science and art. Elementary students will benefit from new science materials, while secondary students will have new curriculum for English language arts, reading and English learner support. 

Facilities improvements are in progress, including extensive mechanical updates for South High and the new health services addition to Benson High. We have identified and allocated funding for two more HVAC projects beyond our original list at McMillan Middle and Kellom Elementary. Five facilities projects may need extensions beyond the Sept. 30, 2024, deadline. We have filed those requests with the Nebraska Department of Education. 

Our district approved additional iPad purchases to refresh student devices and ensure backup devices are available, along with other classroom technology updates. 

Our current spending forecast shows approximately $1.3 million in funds that still need to be allocated to fully utilize our grant. We continue to look for opportunities to allocate any remaining funds as we approach the September deadline. 

Previous ESSER in Action Updates:

July 2024

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