As the hectic 2020-21 school year comes to a close, the sights of many are already set on the reopening of schools in the fall. With discussions regarding next school year’s approach to learning still in the air, FCPS community members have remained active, instituting programs such as OpenFCPS to petition the school board and garner support.
On Monday, May 21, FCPS issued a mass email discussing the details of a ESSER III funding plan designed to provide relief to Fairfax County Public School communities in their reopening and continued operation throughout next school year.
Now a part of the larger American Rescue Plan Act which allotted over $122 billion dollars of relief funds across the country, the ESSER plans, which were first instituted in early 2020 as a part of the CARES Act, were passed to protect education during the pandemic. The third in its series, ESSER III will grant FCPS nearly $180 million dollars alone for next year.
“[The ESSER III funding plan] sounds like a great opportunity to solve the problems which came about during the pandemic,” junior Bella Demarco said. “I want to see FCPS spend the funds [directly] towards resources for the students and schools to see real improvement, not some secret administrative change we will never notice.”
Student leaders across the Dranesville region met with district representative Elaine Tholen and discussed the possible ramifications of the plan.
“I think the plan is a long overdue lifeline for public schools across America. It will allow public schools to get back on their feet and make up for their lost revenue from lack of fundraisers and taxpayer support [in the last year],” McLean Student Advisory Council (SAC) representative and junior Arman Nikmorad said.
FCPS is open to feedback and have scheduled a public hearing on June 7, encouraging community members to sign up and speak.
“There’s a lot we can do. [For one,] I think we should improve the operating budget. We can improve teacher and faculty pay,” Nikmorad said. “My main recommendation that I will present to the school board will be focused on having more busses for after school activities which will be offered on more days.”
McLean’s SAC and Student Government Association (SGA) teams also plan to address a multitude of other problems at school.
“I also plan to propose an improvement of the construction budget. I know at McLean there could be improvements to the bathrooms, specifically the lack of dividers in the boys restrooms,” Nikmorad said. “[On a wider scale], I hope to improve technology assistance to help students use computer programs [across the county].
FCPS is currently surveying opinions in preparation for the plan’s enactment.
Please visit the FCPS Online Feedback Form or, for more information on the plan, please visit https://www.fcps.edu/ESSER3.