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July 24, 2021

Town Hall gathers opinions for PVUSD’s federal funds

WATSONVILLE—Pajaro Valley Unified School District (PVUSD) on July 14 held two virtual town halls, one in English and one in Spanish, to receive input from parents and the public regarding the use of $52.7 million from Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) II and III.

The English language town hall was co-hosted by PVUSD Superintendent Michelle Rodriguez and Chief Business Officer Clint Rucker, and attended by seven people.

The ESSER funds, Rucker said, must be used to address one of seven goals outlined by the federal government. These goals include: health and safety preparedness, support for vulnerable populations, purchasing and access to educational technology, mental health services, summer and supplemental learning, addressing learning loss and school facility repairs.

There is flexibility in how to prioritize these goals, which is what PVUSD is hoping the community will weigh in on, both at events like town halls and also via a survey PVUSD created.

“What this survey really does is let us get some information from our community, from our stakeholders, about [how to distribute ESSER funds],” Rucker said.

Already, PVUSD is expanding mental health services, extending learning time via additional learning programs during intercessions, focusing on closing the learning gap and creating more learning hubs where students can study in safe spaces.

PVUSD is funding these initiatives with its expanded $15.6 million learning opportunities grant. The district implemented a similar outreach program for that funding to its students, staff, parents and the public, to collect feedback on what services the grant should fund.

“The first priority was around people’s support,” said Rodriguez.

According to district spokesperson Alicia Jimenez, PVUSD is promoting the survey and other opportunities for public input on allocation of the ESSER funds on social media and by contacting families via email and text. 

At the time of the town hall, the survey had received almost 700 responses. The primary areas the town hall attendees wanted to prioritize were closing the learning gap, supporting facilities and whole family support.

While the survey results are currently undisclosed, they will be presented at the special July 21 board meeting that will discuss the allocation of ESSER II and III funds. 

“We’re excited to be able to share with the board and see what the community really wants to see us utilize these dollars for,” Rucker said.

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