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ESSERF Public Notice

Summary of Use of Covid Relief Funds

In response to the challenges facing students, educators, staff, and schools, Congress has provided emergency funds to districts (LEA’s) to prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID–19.

First through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (‘‘CARES’’) Act, enacted on March 27, 2020. Portland Schools were allocated $1,926,768.52 through Maine’s Department of Education (DOE).  These funds were mainly used for sanitization, cleaning supplies, and custodial staff salaries and benefits.  here is our application These funds are closed out. 

Next, the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act, 2021, was enacted on December 27, 2020.  Portland Schools were allocated $7,966,403.73.  These funds are being used to support school reopening efforts with a continued concentration on health, safety and social distancing, while preparing educators for expanded on-site and hybrid teaching environments through the purchase of appropriate technology and supplies.  

In the discussions to prioritize the use of these funds, the Superintendent presented each project to the School Board and City Council as part of the FY22 local budget process under the theme of “Advancing Equity.” Four categories each containing different projects were established: Student supports,  Staff supportsOperations and Maintenance, Food Services

here is our approved applicationThese funds are closed out.

Most recently the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act was enacted on March 11, 2021. Portland Schools were allocated $17,896,895.44. Listed below are the current projects that have been approved by the DOE and Portland’s School Board as of 6/24/22. Below is the Superintendent’s budget presentation and invitation for public comment on the ESSERF III Consolidated Application:

FY 23 budget presentation

There is a required set aside of 20% to address the academic impact of the pandemic (learning recovery).

Our Extended School Year-Summer Programming is budgeted for 28% of the total award.

Below is the Superintendent’s budget presentation and invitation for public comment on the ESSERF III Consolidated Application:

FY 24 Presentation

These funds must be fully obligated by September 30, 2024. 

To address the overall impact of the pandemic, the remaining ARP funds will be used for the following programs:

  • Planning and implementing activities related to summer learning; 

  • Training and professional development on sanitizing and minimizing the spread of infectious diseases;

  • Purchasing supplies to sanitize and clean the facilities and buses;

  • Addressing the needs of children from low-income families, children with disabilities, English learners, racial and ethnic minorities, students experiencing homelessness and foster care youth;

  • Developing and implementing systems to improve preparedness and response efforts; 

  • Purchasing educational technology (including hardware, software, connectivity, and adaptive equipment) for students with aids in regular and substantive educational interaction between students and their classroom instructors, including students from low-income families and children with disabilities;

  • Providing mental health services and supports;

  • Addressing learning loss;

  • Other activities that are necessary to maintain operation of and continuity of services.

Additional Public Comments on the ARP application should be directed to ESSERF Grant Manager Kate Hersom at hersok@portlandschools.org.