Our schools are headed for a major disruption and parents need to be aware of the financial chaos that is coming— commonly referred to as “the fiscal cliff,” it is the consequence of several factors coming together to cause a perfect storm:

  • Federal pandemic relief funds or “ESSER funds” coming to their planned but abrupt end. 
  • Falling district enrollments
  • Slowing state revenues

School districts received unprecedented sums of money in ESSER funds or “covid money.” Collectively, they have spent $120 billion in ESSER funds over the past two years. But starting in September of 2024, that money will be gone and districts are in the midst of the difficult process of figuring out how to right-size their budgets. This is going to mean massive cuts and since the highest need districts got the most money, they now have to cut the most from their budgets. These cuts will be especially painful for districts that used their Covid money to add staff or maintain excess capacity.

What might these cuts look like?

  • Eliminating staff positions
  • Cutting programs
  • Closing Schools
  • Postponing raises
  • Increasing class sizes

Budget hearings are happening now and if parents and other members of the public want to understand what’s coming and make their voices heard during the process, now is the time. 

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Parents Defending Education’s Director of Outreach Erika Sanzi and Director of Advocacy Marissa Fallon discuss the upcoming fiscal cliff facing K-12 schools in the wake of COVID relief funds ending.


Wasteful ESSER Expenditures

Top 10 Wasteful Expenditures of School COVID Relief Funds Ranked: Wisconsin: In one of the most stunning examples of relief fund abuse, the Whitewater, Wis., school board voted to allocate…