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ESSER Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Lamar School District

ESSER

FAQ

12/7/21

 

  1. Have we purchased devices so we are 1 to 1 for student use?

We have enough devices that we can pivot if we need to go 1:1.

 

  1. If yes, why aren’t these in the hands of students?

The devices are in our students hands but they aren’t assigned per student. The devices are kept in charging carts and used in classrooms. The purpose is to have them available and ready to be handed out if the need to pivot should arise.

 

  1. If you didn’t plan to go 1 to 1 with the purchase of so many devices why do all teachers not have devices available daily?

Teachers have access to computers as needed. The best curriculum is face-to-face; therefore we have them available when needed to support the curriculum. If the need to pivot were to arise we would go to a 1:1 type of schooling.

 

  1. I see where you are building outdoor classrooms. What are their expectations on use of those facilities?

The purpose of outdoor classrooms, in regards to ESSER, is for teachers to have a location that they can occasionally take students to provide a fresh air environment.

 

  1. I know at least  20% of ARP ESSER has to be used to address learning loss. How are you going to address that learning loss?

We provided summer school programs last summer and we are providing interventions during the day, as well as, tutoring after school. We are continuing to assess the issue and looking for the best way to address the learning loss. The focus has to be on creating a plan that actually addresses the loss of learning.

 

  1. What’s the timeline for spending all these funds?

https://dese.ade.arkansas.gov/Offices/public-school-accountability/federal-programs/cares-act#ESSER%20II%20link

 

  1. Do you pay any salaries from any ESSER funds?

Yes (POC, Paraprofessionals) https://www.lamarwarriors.org/394142_4

 

  1. Did you pay any staff for “additional duties” ? If yes, how was that amount calculated per employee?

Yes faculty and staff received additional duty pay in 2020-2021. The pay was based on a determined number of minutes per day, at minimum wage. Each employee received the determined amount for each day they were working on campus.

 

  1. Have you or are you going to pay any recruitment or retention monies for faculty and staff? If no, what is the reasoning? If yes, what are the specifics of that plan? 

We have not at this time; however, we have a proposal and will move forward when and if all requirements are met. The plan provides an incentive at the end of each semester for the next 3 years. The plan provides $1,000 incentive at the first semester (Semester 1) and increases to $1,400 in the last semester (Semester 6). This is a total incentive over three years of $7,200.

 

  1. Employees received a COVID bonus with some of the ESSER money, and that is reflected, but why is there so much money still set aside for employee salaries and benefits being unused in ESSER II? Is this money set aside for another bonus or something else?

The money set aside in the ARP breakdown is to provide opportunities for incentives, but also for the need to hire people to fulfill our needs to meet the needs of our student’s learning loss. It is important to remember that the document referred to in this question is a draft type document. The money can and will be moved as we move forward in the planning process.

 

  1. Where is the detailed breakdown of items coded as PPE?

Personal Protective Equipment refers to (masks, shields, gloves, etc.) Everything listed in this category is needed to protect individuals against COVID etc. We purchase tons of masks especially now trying to keep our students masked on buses.

 

  1. What is the PPE is used for? Is this a catch all for cleaning products and toiletries? Toiletries should not be classified as this. Does this include the custodial/ teacher staffs salary to disinfect?

We are not, nor can we purchase items that we would normally purchase to clean our buildings. We can’t pay salaries that we already have for normal operation of the school. You can only supplement with federal dollars, you can’t supplant. Any pay for employees would show up in a salary code for additional duties or as pay for a specific individual, if they were hired specifically to take care of a COVID related function. The two would never be mixed under the same code.

 

  1. Exactly how many chromebooks have been purchased? What is the price per unit?

The price per unit varies from vendor to vendor and what is available. I would say on average we pay about $235 per unit. We have purchased 500 chromebooks from CARES (ESSER I). This can be seen at https://s3.amazonaws.com/scschoolfiles/1542/fund_6780_check_register.pdf

10784 07/13/20 ITSAVVY LLC 6780258000018500 66527 CHROMEBOOKS 500 $ 3,734.91 10784 07/13/20 ITSAVVY LLC 6780258000018500 66527 CHROMEBOOKS 500 $ 5,200.29 10784 07/13/20 ITSAVVY LLC 6780258000018500 66527 CHROMEBOOKS 500 $ 12,500.00

 

  1. Where is a detailed breakdown of what is included in the $214,837.29 that was spent and categorized as Technology supplies?

There is not one big long list of technology supplies, due to the time it would take to create a list that we wouldn’t use. The category is general in nature for the purpose of lumping all other technology in one place (computer cameras, microphones, Hubs, USB Drives, etc.) This category is not for hardware, software or other specific categories.

Audit is our checks and balances. We work hard to make sure that we don’t have any issues because we don’t want to make mistakes. If we were to make a mistake, Audit would catch it, and we would have to fix it. This includes incorrect codes or supplanting.

 

  1. We are paying someone a $50,000 salary to be point of contact,mental health liaison, and social worker. Obviously this job was created because  Mr Gordon did the point of contact stuff last year and didn’t want to do it again. However, a lot more was going on Covid-wise at that time. Why was this job not presented as multi-faceted and with the salary it has? It appears to many that this job is tied to administration since the salary is more than several of our teacher’s salaries. It also has 3 paraprofessionals under it? What are these paraprofessionals doing now that the covid numbers are recorded as being considerably lower within the district? What things in specific are these paras handling when they aren’t contract tracing? Are they supervised by the POC or building administrators ?

At the June 17th board meeting the Board hired the Human Service Worker (Katie Kersey) under the RN category on the classified salary schedule with a 210 day contract. https://s3.amazonaws.com/scschoolfiles/1542/contracts_fiscal_year_2122.pdf

The position was posted as a Human Service Worker (in the schools), and a degree in a field related to human service work was what we were looking for. The request was for someone to be able to work with students and families and it was always planned for the person to have multiple areas that they would be working in. All of these areas deal with students and families, and mainly our relationship with them. The position at the start of the year was focused more on the POC portion of the position, however, it will and has adjusted to other areas when time permits. Each building had a paraprofessional to help with contact tracing duties, and each building administrator is in charge of that employee. The District POC keeps up with all of the requirements and deals directly with the State. Contact tracing is just one thing that has added to the work load in the offices due to COVID, so these employees help in other areas that have had an increase in work load, or changed, due to the onset of COVID.

 

  1. Will school employees be consulted on how to spend the remaining money and what specific needs there are? There has not been any meetings, surveys, or anything so far asking employees anything, so we are curious to how this will be handled in the future.

School employees have been consulted through meetings and discussions since the start of COVID. We have also had ESSER Surveys and Suggestion Surveys available on our website off and on for several months. I remember the first PD we had last year where we trained all teachers on what virtual would look like at Lamar. The plan for the Lamar Virtual Classroom was determined from what the teachers were already use to using, as well as, what we already had available.

We made sure the communication devices (DOJO, REMIND, Etc.) each building normally used was inserted as part of our plan. This is real communication with the teachers; we didn’t have to call a meeting to ask what their preference was, because they had already picked those tools.

The Kindergarten teachers came to us with a question concerning a struggle they could see trying to show the shape of their mouth when trying to teach students sounds. We discussed this with them and worked together to find a cure. We came up with cameras for them and purchased additional ones that could be checked out from the Libraries on each campus for anyone else having similar issues. This is handling business and this is only one example.

We are always listening to our teachers on what is needed. Another example is when we purchased Kami for the entire district last year, when MS teachers determined it was a need. They wanted to have a tool that would allow students to modify pdf documents from their chromebooks.

The cameras mentioned above could be determined as technology supplies. Technology Supplies is written in a general manner, so you can lump many items in it that deal with technology, but does not fall under larger heading; such as hardware or software.

 

  1. It is interesting that we are spending about $300,000 on "outdoor classrooms" when there are barely enough real classrooms at the elementary. There is not even one spare classroom at the elementary. What is the plan if a grade has to add a teacher/classroom next year? There would be no place for them right now.

As mentioned above you can only use federal dollars for supplemental items. The Government creates the guidelines that determine if something is going to be supplemental or if would fall under supplanting. We have always provided classrooms for all of our teachers and no matter what the future holds, we will continue to meet those needs. We are always looking ahead so that we are not caught off guard, but at the same time, we can’t spend too much time on a maybe. We try to have a plan for emergency situation. If we were to have situation come up where we had to find space we would and we would clean up any issues as we move forward.