How are RI districts choosing to spend federal recovery dollars and what does this imply for the kinds of support the state can provide?
Overview: In partnership with RIDE, we have analyzed district applications and spending patterns for the first two waves of COVID-19 federal relief aid to RI – about $275 million dollars. This project, which aims to produce recommendations for state leaders, looks at budget priorities at both the district and state level to understand the types of personnel that districts are trying to hire over the next several years, the central priorities around student academic recovery and social-emotional support, and the likelihood that districts will face a “fiscal cliff” when relief dollars run out.
This brief focuses on the ways that ESSER dollars changed district contracting and purchases—specifically how districts have shifted spending in curriculum, professional development, and technology, as a result of the flexibility provided by ESSER funding.
In this brief, we focus on dollars spent by traditional (non-charter) districts on staffing and personnel, by far the largest category of ESSER spending. Subsequent briefs will examine other spending areas in greater detail.
Two years after the start of COVID-19, Rhode Island schools continue to grapple with the effects of the pandemic, including shifting operating procedures, continued staff and student absences, and changing health mandates.