Through the COVID Relief Act of 2021, $81.88 billion was allocated to the US Department of Education (USED) for the Education Stabilization fund. After a small set aside of this total, 67% of the remaining funds were to be used to make supplemental Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER II) Funds grants.
The ESSER II 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. At a time when so many school boards and superintendents have closed campuses for the balance of the school year, ED urges SEAs and LEAs to think creatively and use these funds to facilitate new instructional delivery methods - focusing on investment in the technology infrastructure and professional development and training that will help all students continue to learn through some form of remote learning.
Generally, though, grant funds awarded under the Elementary & Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund may be used by Local Education Agencies towards the following:
Preliminary LEA allocations for ESSER II are visible at: https://www.cde.state.co.us/caresact/esseriipreliminaryallocations
This section will be updated once the LEA allocation amounts are finalized and the state announces it's intentions for the 10% reserve of ESSER II funding.
An overview of differences between CARES Act ESSER and ESSER II is visible at: https://oese.ed.gov/files/2021/01/Final_ESSERII_Factsheet_1.5.21.pdf
In Colorado, specifically highlighted allowable uses include:
Additional resources may be provided at CDE's COIVD-19 updates website: https://www.cde.state.co.us/fedprograms/resourcesandtechnicalassistance. Check often for updates, clarification memos, and ESSER II application, or funding draw down training videos.
Local Education Agencies (LEAs), including charter schools, within the state of Colorado are eligible.
Note: Unlike ESSER allocations made available under the CARES Act, ESSER II does not require awardees to provide equitable services to non-public schools. Non-public schools are instead instructed to seek support under their state's Governor's Emergency Education Relief Fund Emergency Assistance for Non-Public Schools (GEER EANS) Program.
LEAs and charter schools with LEA status will have until September 30, 2021 to submit their ESSER II Application for Funds documentation to CDE in order to request funds.
The ESSER Application Approval and Signature Form (https://www.cde.state.co.us/caresact/approvaltransmittal-esser2-21-22) must be summited on CDE's Identity Management platform for ESSER II (https://www.cde.state.co.us/apps/esser2app/login).
This is a one-time emergency funding opportunity. Future deadlines are not anticipated.
Approximately $54,3 billion has been allocated for ESSER II, of which Colorado has been granted $519,324,311. The state is required to regrant at least 90% of these funds ($467,391,880) to eligible LEAs and charter schools. It may retain up to 10% ($51,932,431) for other COVID-19 response activities but no more than 1/2 of 1% ($2,596,622) for administrative costs.
The amount of each grant allocated to LEAs (and charter schools with LEA status) shall be based upon the same calculation used to determine their proportion of funding received under Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act in the most recent fiscal year. 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.
Note: ESSER II funds must be tracked separately from ESSER funds, and awardees are strongly encouraged to fully expend their CARES Act ESSER award before using ESSER II funds.