The first ESSER grant, which was funded by the Coronavirus Aid Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act on March 27, 2020.
Through ESSER I, a total of $13.2 billion was awarded by the U.S. Department of Education to state educational agencies (SEAs) for the purpose of providing local educational agencies (LEAs), including school districts, with emergency relief funds to address the impact that COVID-19 has had, and continues to have, on elementary and secondary schools across the nation. Under ESSER I, school districts were required to provide services to non-profit private schools.
WCSD's allocation of ESSER I funding is $9,908,499, with a spending deadline of September 30, 2022. The Board of Trustees approved the application for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief Fund for $9,908,499 on July 28, 2020.
WCSD has used this funding to manage the immediate and pressing needs of the pandemic, including but not limited to:
- Purchasing personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Developing, printing, and delivering distance learning packets to students during the spring of 2020
- Hiring homeless student liaisons and social workers to provide basic necessities for homeless youth
- Purchasing hot spots so that students could access remote learning and online curriculum
In addition to the ESSER I allocated grant, WCSD competed for and earned an additional $1,299,875 in ESSER I competitive funds to support teacher training in technology, a crisis counselor, social workers, and a family resource center advocate. These programs provide direct services to both students and teachers.