DEARBORN — Dearborn Public Schools recently updated its financial filings with the state to show the district now plans to spend about $52 million in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Act funding on buildings, most of that to add air-conditioning at some elementary schools.
A breakdown of how the district has spent or budgeted its entire $133 million in ESSER funding is now posted on the district website, including an updated graphic showing the spending by ESSER category.
The additional $12 million now budgeted from ESSER money for buildings will probably not be enough to allow the district to expand the projects beyond the previously announced nine school — DuVall, Haigh, Howard, Long, Nowlin, Oakman, Snow, Whitmore Bolles and possibly Lindbergh. The additional funds are needed to cover inflation and to hopefully ensure there is enough funding to cover all of the buildings. Lindbergh will only have air-conditioning added if funding permits.
ESSER building funds are also being used to help expand Haigh Elementary, including adding more classrooms and an expanded cafeteria. Some ESSER funding will also assist the district in buying and renovating buildings for the Henry Ford Early College high schools.
Preliminary work to add air-conditioning has already started. Oakman, Duvall, Whitmore Bolles and Snow elementary schools have construction workers adding air ducts a classroom at time. During the week or so workers are in a particular room, that class moves to another space in the building.
Adding ducts during the school year will hopefully allow the air-conditioning projects in those buildings to be completed over the summer.(For more on how buildings were selected to have air-conditioning added, please see the DPS December 2022 building update.)
The last of the funding from ESSER must be allocated by September 2024. The district has already spent all the funding from the first two waves — $8.5 million from ESSER 1 and $38 million from ESSER 2. The district is currently spending and budgeting $86 million from ESSER 3.
ESSER funds can only be spent in certain categories. Improved air-handling, including air-conditioning, was one of the few building items that could be paid for with the funding.