Amid national uncertainty regarding allowable uses and timelines for recovery spending, NDDPI knew it would be helpful for school districts to have a vision and guide for spending that they could trust. NDDPI developed a concrete spending model, aligned to its vision for recovery and applied to its own use of state set-aside funds, that all school districts could choose to follow.
Sequenced over three years, the model recommended that school districts allocate 1/3 of their ESSER funds in the first year on the expansion of programs that directly impact student success – including hiring more tutors, expanding summer school, and increasing after-school program enrollment. In the second year, the state recommends that districts and schools spend the next 1/3 on innovative and new programs that could aid student learning. The third year is meant to evaluate which efforts have had the greatest impact on learning, with the remaining 1/3 of funds then targeted to scale successful efforts and build a sustainable system of funding supported by permanent federal, state, and local funds. The agency also made big bets to address learning loss by both providing a free diagnostic assessment system statewide and targeting specific districts with comprehensive literacy grants.