Sioux City CSD to use ESSER III funds on partnerships with local agencies

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — Sioux City Community Schools received $38.9 million in ESSER (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund) III allocations from the American Rescue Plan Act back in March and now they’re determining where those funds should be spent.

Local youth agencies, both non-profit and for-profit, have a chance to benefit from the ESSER funds as the district announced last week the opening of a “request for proposal” where they’ll be accepting applications and ideas on how agencies can help assist students whose learning has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. If successful, local organizations such as Beyond the Bell and Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Siouxland could see financial gains depending on what they can offer.

“We’re asking for the justification for their cost and it’s over a three-year period so if they have a large number of staff members that they could provide to us for help, of course they would be paid more money through the ESSER III funds than somebody that only has a very limited number of people to provide,” said Sioux City Community Schools Associate Superintendent Dr. Kim Buryanek.

Schools must show they’ve used at least 20% of the ESSER III funds to enhance student services by implementing “evidence-based intervention.” Dr. Buryanek says the school board understands the necessity of investing in various programs for students who’ve fallen behind due to factors like online learning or isolation.

“Our school board has designated 40 percent of our ESSER III funds to be used for those purposes, so this is a portion of those ESSER III funds that we’re going to be using in this capacity,” said Dr. Buryanek.

Buryanek says they’re looking for increased comprehensive after-school programming as well as summer school and additional mentoring services which may come from familiar faces to the district.

“And a lot of these agencies, we already have partnerships with but we can even expand it and it’s really going to have a positive impact on our students.”

Dr. Buryanek says the proposals from bidders must be submitted by November 15 and then the board will evaluate those plans before announcing the successful ones on November 22.

A link to the application for the Request for Proposal can be found here.

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