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Knox County Schools looking for community input on how to use $114 million in federal funding

The emergency relief funds are provided to support schools as they address learning loss and improve in-person learning.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Knox County Schools are set to receive around $114 million from the federal government under the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER 3.0) fund.

These emergency relief funds are being given to support schools as they work to address learning loss and improve in-person learning. Now, educators in Knox County are seeking feedback from students, parents and teachers to help determine how the district should best use the funds to support the students over the next 4 years.

Knox County parent Eric Moore said he hopes the school uses the money wisely.

"Perhaps, if I had to choose one thing, I think it would be to reduce class sizes," Moore said. "As a former teacher myself, I can attest that when I have a smaller class, I'm able to offer a lot more one-on-one or small group support for students."

Moore said the student's and teacher's mental health also needs to be prioritized. He said before students can be expected to learn and stay engaged in the classroom, their mental health needs should be taken care of.

He is not the only parent who wants to see changes over the next 4 years.

"The biggest thing, I think, would be upgrading the schools whether that's the actual physical building, or whether that's microscopes for science classes or upgrading computers," said Lee Forgety, a parent in Knox County Schools.

Knox County Educators Association president Tanya Coats said its important to invest in students and teachers,

"As a parent, I'm thinking as a parent and and as an educator, that we would get up to date resources, as regards to textbooks, technology, that we would have those at our fingertips, and we wouldn't have to worry about it," Coats said.

KCS had its first public feedback meeting regarding ESSER 3.0 funding Thursday evening. The second meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. at the Sarah Simpson Professional Development Technology Center on Tuesday, June 29.

The deadline to submit the survey is July 1.