August 29, 2022
Aresha Davwa

Federal Pandemic-Related Funding to Independent School Districts in Harris County

During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021, school districts received relief funding through three pandemic-related funding acts: the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) in March of 2020; the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) in December 2020; and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA) in March 2021. Within each of these federal relief acts, educational agencies were allocated funding through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Grant Programs.

Summary Table 1 below provides an overview of each of the ESSER I, ESSER II, and ESSER III grants. While the purpose of each grant fund varies, the U.S. Department of Education noted that any of the ESSER funds "may be used to support all of the allowable uses of funds listed in any of the ESSER programs.” The ESSER III grant program also provided the opportunity to separately apply for additional grant funds, as noted below.

Table 1.PNG

Independent school districts (ISDs) in Harris County received a total of $3,408,035,14 in relief funding from various combinations of the federal relief dollars. Figure 1 shows the total amount of funding each ISD received, as well as the amount received per enrolled student. The Houston Independent School District received the greatest total amount of funding, equal to $ 1,247,697,789 from all three ESSER grants. Aldine, Cypress-Fairbanks, and Alief ISDs were also among the top-receiving ISDs in terms of total funding. 

*Chart Instructions: To view smaller awards (e.g. TCLAS grants) select the grant in the legend (e.g., ESSER I, ESSER II, ESSER III, TCLAS, etc.) and select Keep Only. This will display only amounts received by the selected grant type and remove other sources of funding.  

Summary Table 2 provides the amounts of federal funding each school district received and spent. Alief, Goose Creek, and Klein ISD received the greatest amount of funding per student enrolled in the school district.

As of March 2022, ISDs in Harris County spent 15% of total funding received, equivalent to $501,371,520. 

Table 2-1.PNG

Read the full memo on Federal Pandemic-Related Funding to Independent School Districts in Harris County here. Note: This blog post includes additional data and analysis on school enrollment and funding per capita, which was not available at the time of publication of the full memo.