TRI-CITIES, Tenn. (WJHL) — School districts in Tennessee will soon have access to federal funds to help their schools after the Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) approved plans on how the money should be spent.
The funds are part of the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief fund, more commonly known as ESSER funds. These funds total more than $3.8 billion and were allocated to assist schools in Tennessee to manage challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a release from the TDOE.
School officials in Northeast Tennessee say that they will use some of the money to fight learning loss, something that is required by the state of Tennessee.
Many districts, including Washington County, Tennessee Schools said that they plan to use some of the funds to focus on the mental health and well-being of students.
Annette Tudor, the director of schools for Bristol Tennessee City Schools says the funds will allow the school system to meet the needs of students using “innovative” and “research-based” methods.
“The targeted initiatives will help us improve student proficiency, strengthen teacher-student connections, reduce learning loss gaps, and increase opportunities for learning acceleration,” Tudor stated.
Sen. Jon Lundberg, Senate education chairman, says that it’s very important that the funds are used “strategically.”
“Used wisely, these funds will become educational assets to not only put our students back on track but propel them all educationally,” Lundberg said.
All 147 school districts in Tennessee received the funds. All districts were required to develop plans that outlined spending strategies, according to the release.