Mississippi News is a non-profit organization. Mississippi has received $2.5 Billion in pandemic relief funds over the past two years to improve education and reduce COVID-related learning losses. The Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) Fund created the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER). It was then replenished by two additional pieces of federal legislation. This creates three separate funds for the state and its districts. The funds all require that 90% of the money be paid directly to school districts. There are many expenses that can be allowed under the ESSER guidelines. However, the U.S. Department of Education directs school districts to prioritise efforts to “safely reopen all schools for full-time instruction for every student, maintain safe in person operations, advance education equity and build capacity.” The 10% remaining goes to the state Department of Education. This department has wide discretion and may use the money to address any immediate pandemic needs. Administrative expenses cannot exceed a quarter of each ESSER fund’s total. The Department of Education has so far spent 29% of its ESSER I monies. This was primarily for updating the Mississippi Student Information System, digital literacy coaches, a school nursing program, career and technology education equipment, and PreK funding. Only 1% of ESSER II money was spent at the state level. This is mainly for MSIS updates and digital subscriptions. The nine main categories of money that districts spent were described below. The following charts show how the money was budgeted and what each district spent it on. ESSER I Created by: Coronavirus Relief, Economic Security and Aid (CARES) Act. Available through September 30, 2022. Total to Mississippi, $169,883,002 Reserved to statewide programs: $16,988,300. ESSER II Created by: Coronavirus Response and Recovery Supplemental Appropriations Act. Available through Sept. 30, 20,23. Total to Mississippi, $724,532,847. Reserved to statewide programs: $72,453,285 ESSER 3 Created by: American Rescue Plan Act.