Type to search

DeKalb Schools asks stakeholders: How should we spend federal funds?

Metro ATL Trending

DeKalb Schools asks stakeholders: How should we spend federal funds?

Image obtained via DeKalb County Schools

By Logan C. Ritchie, contributor 

DeKalb County, GA — The DeKalb County School District is asking stakeholders for feedback about how to spend the next tranche of federal dollars on pandemic relief in education. This round is from the American Rescue Plan, and the district is distributing an online survey until Oct. 31. 

Feedback regarding the use of federal funds will be submitted to the Georgia Department of Education. The survey asks what will make up for pandemic-related learning loss, how college planning and mental health services rank among other priorities and what is most valuable to a student’s success.

The third round of federal dollars for Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) will be invested in mitigation recommended by the CDC, enrich students through summer school and afterschool, and address students’ social, emotional, and mental health and early childhood education.  

DCSD is scheduled to receive $313.2 million in ESSER III. The bill was signed into law on March 11, 2021, to speed up the recovery from the economic and health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Community input was invaluable during the development of the application. We will continue to engage the community in dialogue and feedback throughout the process,” a press release said. 

DCSD received $33.5 million of federal dollars in the initial funding of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER). A state audit in July questioned the district’s allocations of ESSER funds, showing nearly $959,493 was not adequately documented. 

“Upon testing a sample of $131,698 in personal services expenditures, known questioned costs of $29,094 were identified for expenditures not supported by adequate documentation,” the audit states. “Using the total nonpersonal services expenditure population of $37,797,179 (excluding benefits payments), we project the likely questioned costs to be approximately $959,493.”

The report was careful to say that this does not mean that nearly a million dollars in ESSER funds are missing or misallocated – because of weaknesses in internal processes, the district can’t guarantee that they aren’t.

If you appreciate our work, please become a paying supporter. For as little as $6 a month, you can help us keep you in the loop about your community. To become a supporter, click here

Want Decaturish delivered to your inbox every day? Sign up for our free newsletter by clicking here.