Local school districts are asking for emergency relief funds and community members have a short time to provide feedback on how the funds should be used.
The Ludington Area School District, Mason Eastern County and Mason Central County have each launched investigations as part of the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Assistance Fund (ESSER) application process to respond learning needs and offset the additional costs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Parents and community members are encouraged to participate and provide input on the needs of their respective districts, but the deadline for participation is fast approaching.
The Ludington Area Schools Survey is still on the district’s website and can be viewed at www.lasd.net/core/news/article/11682. The school district had asked respondents to complete it by Nov. 30, but Jesse Rickard, director of business services, said the responses will be considered by the administration as long as the survey is available.
The Mason County Eastern survey can be found on the main page of the district’s website at www.mceschools.com, but it won’t be around for long. MCE Superintendent Paul Shoup said he would likely be pulled out to collect responses on Friday, December 2.
Mason County Central sent a notification through its mobile app on Monday with a link to the investigation, at https://bit.ly/3r5bMNJ. The survey can also be viewed at www.mccschools.com. MCC is calling for the survey to be completed by December 10.
MCC Superintendent Jeff Mount said his district’s mobile app provided a convenient platform for disseminating the survey in the community, adding that he hopes it will generate “thinking outside the box.” .
Surveys ask respondents what ‘stakeholder group’ they belong to; what the district should spend the funds on; and it includes an open-ended question where respondents can suggest projects or uses of funds that would warrant attention and funding.
ESSER funds are intended for “one-time or short-term expenses to deal with the continuing impact of the pandemic,” according to surveys.
The funds are part of the American Rescue Plan Act. In October, the US Department of Education approved the release of an additional $ 1.2 billion for Michigan, bringing funds to a total of $ 3.7 billion for the state.
Plans on how the funds are to be used are expected by Dec. 14, according to the US Department of Education. The funds must be used by September 2023.