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District Seeks Stakeholder Input on Priorities for ESSER COVID-19 Relief Funds

Omaha Public Schools is working with students, staff and our community to determine how to best utilize federal relief funding connected to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Funds provide support to schools and are intended to minimize the disruption from the COVID-19 pandemic and support the academic, social and emotional well-being of students.

In March 2020, the ESSER I Fund provided Omaha Public Schools with $23.2 million. This fund was utilized in May 2020 when the Board of Education approved the purchase of 54,400 internet-enabled iPads to prepare for the 2020-21 school year and support blended learning beyond that time. This fund also supported our health and safety efforts, allowing Omaha Public Schools to be among the first large, urban school districts to responsibly return to in-person learning.

The ESSER II Fund provided Omaha Public Schools with $86.4 million, and this summer the ESSER III Fund has allocated an additional $194.1 million. These funds have not yet been utilized. Collaborating with our students, staff, families and our community is a priority for our district as we move forward together in planning for the use of ESSER II and III funds. Our district has an important responsibility to use these funds wisely so they can make a lasting, positive impact for our students.

The Omaha Public Schools ESSER II and III plans will be built on four key pillars:

  • Academic recovery and acceleration supports
  • Well-being of students and staff
  • Infrastructure for the future
  • Family and community engagement

Public engagement for the ESSER II and III Funds will begin with a survey to Omaha Public Schools students, all staff and all families. The email will also contain information about in-person engagement sessions which will be held at schools across our district. Virtual engagement sessions will be held for those who are most comfortable with that opportunity.

District staff provided additional details on the ESSER I, II and III funds during a presentation to the Board of Education on Monday, June 21.