B - Readily funds technology as part of an award
Department of Education (DoEd)
Through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, funding was allocated to the US Department of Education (USED) to make another supplemental round of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER III) Funds grants. These funds are to be used in addition to those already provided under the Education Stabilization Fund via the CARES and CRRSA Acts.
The ESSER III Fund provides State Education Agencies (SEAs), and their local educational agencies (LEAs), with emergency relief funds to address the impact that COVID-19 has had - and continues to have - on elementary and secondary schools across the country.
LEAs that receive ESSER III funds must reserve at least 20% of their allocation to address learning loss through the implementation of evidence-based interventions, such as summer learning or summer enrichment, extended day, comprehensive afterschool programs, or extended school year programs. Further they must ensure that such interventions respond to student's unique academic, social, and emotional needs and address the disproportionate impact of coronavirus on student subgroups including racial and ethnic minorities, economically disadvantaged, students with disabilities, English language learners, gender, migrant status, students experiencing homelessness, and children and youth in foster care.
Of an LEA's remaining ESSER III allotment, grant funds may be used towards the following:
- Any activity authorized by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, and the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006.
- Coordination of preparedness and response efforts of local educational agencies with State, local, Tribal, and territorial public health departments, and other relevant agencies, to improve coordinated responses among such entities to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.
- Activities to address the unique needs of low-income children or students, children with disabilities, English learners, racial and ethnic minorities, students experiencing homelessness, and foster care youth, including how outreach and service delivery will meet the needs of each population.
- Developing and implementing procedures and systems to improve the preparedness and response efforts of local educational agencies.
- Training and professional development for staff of the local educational agency on sanitation and minimizing the spread of infectious diseases.
- Purchasing supplies to sanitize and clean the facilities of a local educational agency, including buildings operated by such agency.
- Planning for, coordinating, and implementing activities during long-term closures, including providing meals to eligible students, providing technology for online learning to all students, providing guidance for carrying out requirements under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and ensuring other educational services can continue to be provided consistent with all Federal, State, and local requirements.
- Purchasing educational technology (including hardware, software, and connectivity) for students who are served by the local educational agency that aids in regular and substantive educational interaction between students and their classroom instructors, including low-income students and children with disabilities, which may include assistive technology or adaptive equipment.
- Providing mental health services and supports, including through the implementation of evidence-based full-service community schools.
- Planning and implementing activities related to summer learning and supplemental after-school programs, including providing classroom instruction or online learning during the summer months and addressing the needs of low-income students, children with disabilities, English learners, migrant students, students experiencing homelessness, and children in foster care.
- Addressing learning loss among students, including low-income students, children with disabilities, English learners, racial and ethnic minorities, students experiencing homelessness, and children and youth in foster care, of the local educational agency, including by—
- administering and using high-quality assessments that are valid and reliable, to accurately assess students' academic progress and assist educators in meeting students' academic needs, including through differentiating instruction;
- implementing evidence-based activities to meet the comprehensive needs of students;
- providing information and assistance to parents and families on how they can effectively support students, including in a distance learning environment; and
- tracking student attendance and improving student engagement in distance education.
- School facility repairs and improvements to enable operation of schools to reduce risk of virus transmission and exposure to environmental health hazards, and to support student health needs.
- Inspection, testing, maintenance, repair, replacement, and upgrade projects to improve the indoor air quality in school facilities, including mechanical and nonmechanical heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems, filtering, purification, and other air cleaning, fans, control systems, and window and door repair and replacement.
- Developing strategies and implementing public health protocols including, to the greatest extent practicable, policies in line with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the reopening and operation of school facilities to effectively maintain the health and safety of students, educators, and other staff.
- Other activities that are necessary to maintain the operation of and continuity of services in local educational agencies and continuing to employ an existing staff of the local educational agency.
History of Funding
Individual SEA allocations are available at https://oese.ed.gov/files/2021/03/FINAL_ARP-ESSER-Methodology-and-Table.pdf
On March 17, USED released the first 2/3 of ESSER III funding to states. The remaining 1/3 will be released upon approval of state plans for a safe return to in-person instruction. The amounts released are visible at: https://oese.ed.gov/files/2021/03/ARP-ESSER-twothird-onethird-Allocations_Final-1.pdf
An SEA shall return to the ED Secretary any funds received under ESSER III that the SEA does not award to LEAs within 1 year, so that those funds may be reallocated. Funds under this program will remain available for LEA obligation through September 30, 2023. Further, funds may also be used to reimburse any allowable pre-award costs dating back to March 13, 2020, when the national coronavirus emergency was declared.
Unlike with ESSER funding provided under the CARES act, LEA sub-awardees are not required to provide equitable services to non-public schools under ESSER III.
Note: LEAS that receive ESSER III funds shall develop and make publicly available on the local educational agency's website, not later than 30 days after receiving the allocation of funds, a plan for the safe return to in-person instruction, and continuity of services. Further, before making the plan publicly available, the LEA shall seek public comment on the said plan and take such comments into account in the final development of the plan. If the LEA has already developed a plan for the safe return to in-person instruction before March 11, 2021, that meets the public comment requirements described above, that plan shall be deemed to satisfy this requirement.
State Education Agency are eligible to apply initially. It is expected that State Education Agencies (SEAs) will then redistribute or regrant awarded funds to Local Education Agencies (LEAs), including charter schools, within their jurisdiction.
Each State shall make allocations to local educational agencies in an expedited and timely manner and, to the extent practicable, not later than 60 days after the receipt of such funds from USED.
LEAs should contact their SEA for steps on how to access these funds once monies have been obligated to the state.
This is a one-time emergency funding opportunity. Future deadlines are not anticipated.
A total of $122,774,800,000 has been allocated for the Elementary & Secondary School Emergency Education Relief Fund. From funds provided USED shall use $800,000,000 for the purposes of identifying homeless children and youth and providing homeless children and youth with:
- wrap-around services in light of the challenges of COVID–19; and
- assistance needed to enable homeless children and youth to attend school and participate fully in school activities.
From the remaining $121,974,800,000, USED shall make grants to each State Educational Agency. The amount of each grant shall be allocated to each State shall be based upon the calculation used to determine the proportion of funding that the State receives under Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965 in the most recent fiscal year. Further, each State shall regrant no less than 90% of the funds awarded to local educational agencies (including charter schools that are local educational agencies) in the State in proportion to the amount of funds such local educational agencies and charter schools that are local educational agencies received under part A of title I of the ESEA of 1965 in the most recent fiscal year.
With the funds not subgranted to LEAs, the SEA may reserve:
- Not less than 5% to carry out, directly or through grants or contracts, activities to address learning loss by supporting the implementation of evidence-based interventions, such as summer learning or summer enrichment, extended day, comprehensive afterschool programs, or extended school year programs, and ensure that such interventions respond to students' academic, social, and emotional needs and address the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus on the student subgroups previously described, including by providing additional support to local educational agencies to fully address such impacts.
- Not less than 1% to carry out, directly or through grants or contracts, the implementation of evidence-based summer enrichment programs, and ensure such programs respond to students' academic, social, and emotional needs and address the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus on the student populations previously described.
- Not less than 1% to carry out, directly or through grants or contracts, the implementation of evidence-based comprehensive afterschool programs, and ensure such programs respond to students' academic, social, and emotional needs and address the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus on the student populations previously described.
- Not more than 1/2 of 1 percent for administrative costs and the remainder for emergency needs as determined by the SEA to address issues responding to coronavirus, including measuring and addressing learning loss, which may be addressed through the use of grants or contracts.
This summary will be updated once information is available on the total allocation for each state, the minimum amount each SEA must regrant to LEAs, and the maximum amount an SEA is allowed to keep in reserve or use for fund administration once available.
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