CUSD receives 41 million dollars in ESSER funding


LJ Alvelais

Classrooms at PVHS and other sites in CUSD will all be equipped with a ViewSonic monitor.

LJ Alvelais

In the past year, the US Congress decided to allocate nearly 13 billion dollars to state education agencies in the form of the ESSER (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief) fund as part of the CARES act passed by Congress this March. This one-time fund will be distributed by state education agencies to local education agencies, leaving the expenditure of the fund to be decided by local school boards, On April 21, the CUSD Board of Trustees approved the plan for the One-time funds.

Kevin Bultema, Assistant Superintendent and Fiscal Chief of Chico Unified School District, regards the allocation of the money according to a “Multi-tiered systems of support… addressing not only classroom needs, but the emotional and social needs of students as well including the resources needed to do that.”

To combat learning loss, outside programs will be offered to students who need it. For those seeking extra preparation for higher level or AP classes, or those who just need additional help, CUSD will pay teachers for before and after school tutoring, starting in August 2021. The consensus agreed upon by PV teachers is that they will use some of this money for zero and eighth period optional classes, as opposed to an eight period alternating day block schedule introduced by Chico High this spring.

CUSD also intends to provide support for groups without proper access to resources or those living in poverty. According to Jaclyn Kruger, Fiscal Services Director at Chico Unified, “The [school board] has committed funds… to create [positions] that would do outreach to our homeless and foster youth students” which would connect students’ families “to services within the community and support within Chico Unified”.

CUSD will also provide more counseling and mental health guidance, even going as far to bridge students with clinical professionals. “We’re here to support the child not only academically, but emotionally as well,” said Kruger.

The implementation of wellness counseling will add an additional focus away high school credits and college or career preparation, pivot to students’ social and emotional concerns. This decision is predicated upon the idea that mental health will ultimately lead to academic success in classrooms, as mental health support is rapidly becoming a focus of communities navigating an emergence from a pandemic shut down.

Teachers will receive new equipment, technology and internet service in their classrooms. The district tends to “re-cable several of the school sites to provide a greater bandwidth… and updating wireless switches,” says Kruger, which will ultimately allow for school Chromebooks and computers to operate at a much higher capacity as technology and education evolve. Each classroom in CUSD will also receive new ViewSonic screens as a district standard with additional updated laptops for each teacher.

Get involved!

CUSD Planning Document for Use of COVID-19 One-time Funds (a four year spending plan for 41 million dollars).

The CUSD Budget Information is available here.

The CUSD Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) involves community members in the decision making process. The public hearing will be held Jun 23, 2021. On the CUSD LCAP website, the public is invited to submit comments and read meeting presentation summaries.

The PVHS School Site Counciland the School Plan for Student Achievement information is available on the PVHS website.