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ESSER in Action: January 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. The window for ESSER-I ended in September 2022 with all funds available to Omaha Public Schools successfully invested and reimbursed. ESSER-II ended in September 2023 and we are in the process of finalizing grant closure. We were able to successfully allocate the full $86.42 million in funds.

ESSER-III Funding Continues

As of Dec. 31, 2023, we have spent 41% of our ESSER-III grant total. This amounts to $79.9 million of the $194.56 million grant.

With ESSER-III funding, we continue our work supporting key projects, including:

  • Upgrading digital communication tools district-wide
  • $33 million in facilities projects, including HVAC and mechanical upgrades along with new construction
  • Staff retention stipends
  • Refreshing student iPads and classroom technology
  • Multiple academic recovery initiatives

In February, we will work to finalize the 2024-25 curriculum roadmap, which has been budgeted at $42 million. This will supplement curriculum initiatives already in the process of field-testing in the classroom.

We have identified approximately $11 million in funds that still need to be allocated to utilize our grant fully.

“We are currently reviewing opportunities for additional technology and learning materials for academic recovery and building upgrades to improve environmental conditions for our students,” Chief Financial Officer Shane Rhian said. “We have high confidence that we will be able to fully allocate the funding by the spending deadline.”

As we continue to manage this spending, we plan to review our ESSER-III budget and make amendments no later than April 2024. These funds must be allocated by September 2024. The board of directors will be reviewing and approving final uses of funds leading up to that date.

Previous ESSER in Action Updates:

January 2024

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