FEDERAL PANDEMIC FUNDING AND HENRY COUNTY SCHOOLS
The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been staggering. President Donald Trump declared the novel coronavirus a national emergency on March 13, 2020 (1). One day later, Governor Brian Kemp declared a public health emergency for Georgia. Daily routines were dramatically disrupted and life as many knew it changed. Schools were closed, church services were cancelled, store shelves were emptied, and millions of Americans lost employment.
Georgia, like many other states, braced for declines in revenues and significant increases in new costs, including those related to unemployment and health care. Having delayed the 2020 Legislative Cycle due to the pandemic outbreak, the Georgia legislature passed the FY21 Budget (covering the period of July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021) with a $1 billion dollar cut in funding to Georgia’s Department of Education. Ninety-five percent of the funding cut ($950 million) was passed on to all 181 local K-12 school systems through the implementation of austerity (2).
The federal government responded to the economic crisis many school systems faced by providing Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funding. To date, the federal government has issued three rounds of ESSER funding to stabilize the infrastructure for K-12 education, provide resources to allow schools to safely operate, and support implementation of innovative practices to promote student learning.
The following report provides an overview of Henry County’s Schools fiscal navigation during this unprecedented season and outlines ESSER funding awards that are supporting the system’s fiscal recovery and investments in the future.
Crisis Response: FY20 closure & FY21 budget adoption
Crisis Management: ESSER I Allocations and Priorities
A Path to Recovery: Georgia’s Amended FY21 State Budget and ESSER II Allocations
Investing in learning recovery and innovative practices: ESSER III Allocation