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DPI Submits Modified ESSER III Plan to JFC

By John Forester | January 20, 2022

From WisPolitics.com …DPI wants to use a smaller pot of federal COVID-19 funds to reward districts that provided in-person instruction during the pandemic.This comes after the U.S. Department of Education rejected an earlier proposal from GOP lawmakers to use more of the money for the effort.The new DPI plan would use some of the money that Republicans wanted to distribute based on in-person instruction to instead create new grant programs plus another initiative to distribute the funds. The plan was submitted to the GOP-run Joint Finance Committee yesterday.The proposal now faces the 14-day passive review process with JFC. If no member objects, the plan would take effect. If someone does, the committee would then meet to vote on a proposal.The offices of the co-chairs said late yesterday they didn’t have a comment on the Department of Public Instruction proposal.The disputed pot of money totals $114.6 million. JFC in May approved a motion to use those funds to reward districts that provided in-person instruction for at least 50 percent of the 2020-21 school year.But the federal government objected to pulling $77 million for that effort from a pot of money that was earmarked for addressing learning loss. Those funds were required to target students disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.Under the new DPI proposal:*$37.6 million would still go toward districts that provided in-person instruction. That money is from an unrestricted pot of discretionary funds, and it would benefit 151 districts.*of the just more than $77 million that was earmarked for learning loss, $10 million would be set aside for two new grant programs. One would be a $5 million competitive grant program for districts and community-based organizations for services outside of school. The other $5 million would target high school students who have been chronically absent during the pandemic.*the remaining $67 million would be used to ensure that all districts receive a minimum per pupil amount and per pupil grant.See the DPI proposal here.

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