ESSER III Grant Fund for Fenton Area Public Schools

Dakota Naganashe, Writer

The Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund was recently provided to schools to help school districts with issues that arose because of the COVID-19 pandemic. When the first ESSER fund was released to school districts, it was a part of the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security or CARES Act.”
According to an article on Xello World, “The CARES Act was signed into law by former President Donald Trump on Mar. 27, 2020, which was the first edition of the ESSER Fund money. It was also one of the only things that continued from the previous administration into the next.”
On Monday, Nov. 15, a Google Form was sent out to students and others involved in the Fenton area school community seeking input and feedback on how best spend their ESSER III Grant money. Fenton Area Public Schools (FAPS) received an estimated $2,272,561 which would be able to be used for anything that fits into the ESSER criteria, according to the Michigan Senate Fiscal Agency. The Form included four options: Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS): Academic, Behavior and Social/Emotional, Facility Improvements, Technology Access and Recruiting, Retaining and Training of Quality Staff.
Students can already see the ESSER Funds being used in previous years as it helped create the foundation for The Positivity Project. The Positivity Project website reported that Fenton used their previous grant to fund The Positivity Project that every student sees within FAPS.
Although the results of this form haven’t publicly been announced, (FAPS) Superintendent Dr. Adam Hartley has high hopes for what the ESSER Fund will be used for and how it could help shape the future for Fenton schools.
The main topic on everyone’s mind, especially mine, is how to give our students, staff and families more support in the area of social emotional learning and mental health services,” Hartley said. “We are in a people business and it takes people to help people.” 

One of the allocations of the ESSER funds being used to address mental health, which was an issue that’s been raised by students. 
The cost of hiring a social worker that would fit the needs of the school district would be about $100,000. The administration is still currently trying to figure out a plan that’d best suit the needs of every student. 
While the present is something to keep an eye on, Dr. Hartley’s hoping to make an impact on the future for Fenton Schools. With the money provided by ESSER, Hartley hopes that it’ll be used to help FAPS for the upcoming years— which is why the district’s planning on spending the ESSER money right away and handling current issues before they grow.
FAPS encourages students to utilize the programs and potential initiatives that’ll come about because of the ESSER III Grant Funds. In addition, Hartley’s hoping to use the money “to seek new and innovative strategies to help our students feel safe and secure.”
With ESSER III fund money, it allows for Fenton to jump forward and be able to accomplish wants and needs the district otherwise wouldn’t have been able to.