South Carolina offers school districts an incentive for relief spending

Local education agencies can apply for supplemental funds to purchase content, expand connectivity for students, provide devices for teachers and students, license systems that support distance learning infrastructure, or provide PD on effectively delivering remote learning.
By: | July 14, 2020
Photo by Annie Spratt on UnsplashPhoto by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

The South Carolina Department of Education is offering an incentive for local educational agencies to prioritize emergency relief spending under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, Pub. L. No. 116-136.

State Superintendent Molly Spearman issued a memorandum, Incentives for CARES Act ESSER Funds, announcing the state’s incentive identifying LEAs that obligate at least 40 percent of their Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief subgrant funds as eligible for additional supplemental funds, coming from the state’s share of ESSER funds. Eligible LEAs submit ESSER subgrant application plans to spend that amount on at least two of the following priority areas:

• Purchasing content from a statewide contract approved by the state for its Learning Management System.

• Expanding connectivity for students to enable distance learning, i.e., hot spots, access points, and use of district property for internet or 5G expansion.

• Providing devices for teachers and students to access distance learning.

• Licensing systems that support distance learning infrastructure, e.g., class rostering systems, single sign-on systems, online classroom management systems, and inventory tracking systems.

• Providing professional development to teachers and faculty on using the Learning Management System or professional development in training teachers how to effectively deliver remote digital learning.

The incentive is based on information discussed and received from the state’s AccelerateED Task Force, which met 25 times between April 30 and June 19, according to Ryan Brown, the department’s chief communications officer. Guidance regarding ESSER funding has already been provided to LEAs.

Brown says the state has received about 30 applications of its 81 LEAs. Guidance on the supplemental funds is forthcoming.

Johnny Jackson covers homeless and at-risk students and other Title I issues for Title1Admin, a DA sister publication.

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