Education Watch: Districts plan to spend $1.5 billion in federal ESSER relief

Jul 22, 2022 | Wisconsin Voices Blog

Transparency in education drives cooperation and student achievement. Have they spent 10 figures wisely on needs or foolishly on desires? Take this and use it in your city!   Quinton Klabon, IRG Senior Research Director

See all of the districts here.

Photo: Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

Additional context:

  • On Monday, Wisconsin became the 50th state to release plans to spend its final “ESSER III” federal education relief. Unlike ESSER I and II, this $1.54 billion is to repair the long-term damage that corona and the response to it inflicted.
  • We applaud most districts, who posted 2 sets of clear plans: overall line items, grouped by category like “new curriculum” or “mental health counselor,” as well as detailed budgets. However, districts like Eau Claire, Milwaukee, Kenosha, and Waukesha produced confusing or incomplete plans. Regular parents must be able to access and comprehend where their money goes.
  • Some districts, including Janesville, Rhinelander, La Crosse, Madison, and Milwaukee, used between one-fourth to one-half of their budgets on buildings. IRG supports policies that ease repair of old facilities and affordable heating and cooling installation, but we question such significant investments as mathematics scores, graduation rates, and mental health decline.