‍ESSER Update: There Is Still Time to Use ESSER Funds

December 14, 2023
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ESSER Update: Still Time to Use ESSER Funds

The Elementary and Secondary Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) was originally created as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to provide school districts with financial support in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. To date, there have been three rounds of federal legislation to respond to district needs: the original CARES Act (2020); the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA, 2020); and the American Rescue Plan (ARP, 2021). 

These three funding rounds are collectively referred to as ESSER I, II, and III and represent a combined $190 billion to be used to fund a wide variety of action items on school districts' agendas, provided it falls under the extensive umbrella of: "preventing, preparing for, and responding to Covid-19" and fits into one of the 15 eligible usage categories put forth by the federal government.

Each of the three ESSER grants made available monetary resources to assist states and districts in responding to and mitigating the impact of the pandemic. Each also came with a deadline for obligation, which provided the last date that an educational institution could procure, pay, and begin receiving allowable goods or services with the funds. 

  • ESSER I: Had a deadline for an obligation of September 30, 2022;
  • ESSER II: Had a deadline for an obligation of September 30, 2023
  • ESSER III: The third and final round of ESSER, the American Recovery Plan (ARP), has an obligation deadline of September 30, 2024.  

That leaves only nine months for districts to identify unallocated funds or to repurpose allocated funds that cannot  be spent in a compliant manner or have been reprioritized.  

Does Your District have ESSER Funds Left to Spend? 

Knowing whether a district has fully allocated all ESSER funds it is eligible to receive can be challenging for school-based and district personnel. It is very possible that districts do, in fact, have remaining funds to spend. 

If a district has a grants department, they are usually the coordinators of the development, submittal, and compliance for state and federal grants. But many districts do not have full-time dedicated grant staff. The chief financial or business official must sign off on all grant applications and can provide comparisons of budgeted, received, and spent grant dollars. These departments can provide the most detailed and current district utilization of ESSER funds. District personnel can also search this resource from Georgetown University to find their ESSER expenditures. 

ESSER Funds to Support CCR

The allowable use of these funds is much broader than previous legislation, enabling local districts to directly address the needs of students, teachers, and communities. Ensuring students are college and career ready is the top priority and requires high levels of student achievement, staffing stability, and district planning dedicated to continuous improvement. But with most “supplement not supplant” provisions found in ESSA Title 1 expenditures waived for these COVID-19 pandemic allocations, districts can be bold in undertaking improvement initiatives that have previously lacked sufficient resources.

These funding sources can enable communities to address the impact of the pandemic on providing educational continuity, address pre-existing challenges in achievement and equity, and perhaps most importantly, undertake a redesign of the educational systems and supports so that the post-pandemic educational system is more resilient and more impactful for ensuring that all students receive an education that ensures college and career readiness.

As districts have grappled with the long-term educational impact of the pandemic, many have concluded that sustained academic support must be enhanced for all students.  Districts have realized that supporting long-term student success will require persistent support over many years and that college and career readiness is the north star of all strategic planning. The window to deepen support for this critically important function with ESSER III/ARP exists now but is closing in under a year.

ARP priorities include promoting students' long-term well-being, enhancing school infrastructure, and addressing student gaps in opportunity in achievement from the pandemic and its long-term impact. A college and career platform clearly and directly meets the intention of the funds. 

Districts CAN use ESSER on Multi-Year Contracts 

With ESSER’s creation and implementation having been in response to unprecedented circumstances and with such a broad and expansive set of purposes, each iteration has resulted in questions from districts about the specific options for use. One key question has been whether districts can pay for services beyond the period of performance. 

In other words, are multi-year contracts allowed with ESSER funding? 

The good news for school districts is that multi-year contracts are, in fact, permitted, with a few caveats. A multi-year CCR platform contract qualifies under other ESSER provisions to extend for up to four years of services beyond the deadline for obligation. That means services can be contracted until September 30, 2028. That is sustained support for students to mitigate the impact of the educational disruption. To qualify for the extended service, a district would need to pay for the length of service by the deadline for obligation and to assert that the extension is needed for student support and does not compromise district budgetary or grant oversight.  

Long-Term Impact with ESSER

The need for student support is a criterion which is unfortunately being seen in districts across the country. Student achievement results on national exams such as NAEP, the ACT, and SAT have dropped significantly. Graduation rates, high school credit accumulation profiles, attendance and chronic absenteeism rates, metrics of disparity among demographic and programmatic sub-groups, and first-yearfirst year college success rates are all showing the negative impact of the pandemic on an entire generation of students. Focusing remaining ESSER funds on the readiness of students for postsecondary success needs to be a top priority for educational leaders.

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ESSER Update: Still Time to Use ESSER Funds

The Elementary and Secondary Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) was originally created as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to provide school districts with financial support in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. To date, there have been three rounds of federal legislation to respond to district needs: the original CARES Act (2020); the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA, 2020); and the American Rescue Plan (ARP, 2021). 

These three funding rounds are collectively referred to as ESSER I, II, and III and represent a combined $190 billion to be used to fund a wide variety of action items on school districts' agendas, provided it falls under the extensive umbrella of: "preventing, preparing for, and responding to Covid-19" and fits into one of the 15 eligible usage categories put forth by the federal government.

Each of the three ESSER grants made available monetary resources to assist states and districts in responding to and mitigating the impact of the pandemic. Each also came with a deadline for obligation, which provided the last date that an educational institution could procure, pay, and begin receiving allowable goods or services with the funds. 

  • ESSER I: Had a deadline for an obligation of September 30, 2022;
  • ESSER II: Had a deadline for an obligation of September 30, 2023
  • ESSER III: The third and final round of ESSER, the American Recovery Plan (ARP), has an obligation deadline of September 30, 2024.  

That leaves only nine months for districts to identify unallocated funds or to repurpose allocated funds that cannot  be spent in a compliant manner or have been reprioritized.  

Does Your District have ESSER Funds Left to Spend? 

Knowing whether a district has fully allocated all ESSER funds it is eligible to receive can be challenging for school-based and district personnel. It is very possible that districts do, in fact, have remaining funds to spend. 

If a district has a grants department, they are usually the coordinators of the development, submittal, and compliance for state and federal grants. But many districts do not have full-time dedicated grant staff. The chief financial or business official must sign off on all grant applications and can provide comparisons of budgeted, received, and spent grant dollars. These departments can provide the most detailed and current district utilization of ESSER funds. District personnel can also search this resource from Georgetown University to find their ESSER expenditures. 

ESSER Funds to Support CCR

The allowable use of these funds is much broader than previous legislation, enabling local districts to directly address the needs of students, teachers, and communities. Ensuring students are college and career ready is the top priority and requires high levels of student achievement, staffing stability, and district planning dedicated to continuous improvement. But with most “supplement not supplant” provisions found in ESSA Title 1 expenditures waived for these COVID-19 pandemic allocations, districts can be bold in undertaking improvement initiatives that have previously lacked sufficient resources.

These funding sources can enable communities to address the impact of the pandemic on providing educational continuity, address pre-existing challenges in achievement and equity, and perhaps most importantly, undertake a redesign of the educational systems and supports so that the post-pandemic educational system is more resilient and more impactful for ensuring that all students receive an education that ensures college and career readiness.

As districts have grappled with the long-term educational impact of the pandemic, many have concluded that sustained academic support must be enhanced for all students.  Districts have realized that supporting long-term student success will require persistent support over many years and that college and career readiness is the north star of all strategic planning. The window to deepen support for this critically important function with ESSER III/ARP exists now but is closing in under a year.

ARP priorities include promoting students' long-term well-being, enhancing school infrastructure, and addressing student gaps in opportunity in achievement from the pandemic and its long-term impact. A college and career platform clearly and directly meets the intention of the funds. 

Districts CAN use ESSER on Multi-Year Contracts 

With ESSER’s creation and implementation having been in response to unprecedented circumstances and with such a broad and expansive set of purposes, each iteration has resulted in questions from districts about the specific options for use. One key question has been whether districts can pay for services beyond the period of performance. 

In other words, are multi-year contracts allowed with ESSER funding? 

The good news for school districts is that multi-year contracts are, in fact, permitted, with a few caveats. A multi-year CCR platform contract qualifies under other ESSER provisions to extend for up to four years of services beyond the deadline for obligation. That means services can be contracted until September 30, 2028. That is sustained support for students to mitigate the impact of the educational disruption. To qualify for the extended service, a district would need to pay for the length of service by the deadline for obligation and to assert that the extension is needed for student support and does not compromise district budgetary or grant oversight.  

Long-Term Impact with ESSER

The need for student support is a criterion which is unfortunately being seen in districts across the country. Student achievement results on national exams such as NAEP, the ACT, and SAT have dropped significantly. Graduation rates, high school credit accumulation profiles, attendance and chronic absenteeism rates, metrics of disparity among demographic and programmatic sub-groups, and first-yearfirst year college success rates are all showing the negative impact of the pandemic on an entire generation of students. Focusing remaining ESSER funds on the readiness of students for postsecondary success needs to be a top priority for educational leaders.

ESSER Update: Still Time to Use ESSER Funds

The Elementary and Secondary Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) was originally created as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to provide school districts with financial support in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. To date, there have been three rounds of federal legislation to respond to district needs: the original CARES Act (2020); the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA, 2020); and the American Rescue Plan (ARP, 2021). 

These three funding rounds are collectively referred to as ESSER I, II, and III and represent a combined $190 billion to be used to fund a wide variety of action items on school districts' agendas, provided it falls under the extensive umbrella of: "preventing, preparing for, and responding to Covid-19" and fits into one of the 15 eligible usage categories put forth by the federal government.

Each of the three ESSER grants made available monetary resources to assist states and districts in responding to and mitigating the impact of the pandemic. Each also came with a deadline for obligation, which provided the last date that an educational institution could procure, pay, and begin receiving allowable goods or services with the funds. 

  • ESSER I: Had a deadline for an obligation of September 30, 2022;
  • ESSER II: Had a deadline for an obligation of September 30, 2023
  • ESSER III: The third and final round of ESSER, the American Recovery Plan (ARP), has an obligation deadline of September 30, 2024.  

That leaves only nine months for districts to identify unallocated funds or to repurpose allocated funds that cannot  be spent in a compliant manner or have been reprioritized.  

Does Your District have ESSER Funds Left to Spend? 

Knowing whether a district has fully allocated all ESSER funds it is eligible to receive can be challenging for school-based and district personnel. It is very possible that districts do, in fact, have remaining funds to spend. 

If a district has a grants department, they are usually the coordinators of the development, submittal, and compliance for state and federal grants. But many districts do not have full-time dedicated grant staff. The chief financial or business official must sign off on all grant applications and can provide comparisons of budgeted, received, and spent grant dollars. These departments can provide the most detailed and current district utilization of ESSER funds. District personnel can also search this resource from Georgetown University to find their ESSER expenditures. 

ESSER Funds to Support CCR

The allowable use of these funds is much broader than previous legislation, enabling local districts to directly address the needs of students, teachers, and communities. Ensuring students are college and career ready is the top priority and requires high levels of student achievement, staffing stability, and district planning dedicated to continuous improvement. But with most “supplement not supplant” provisions found in ESSA Title 1 expenditures waived for these COVID-19 pandemic allocations, districts can be bold in undertaking improvement initiatives that have previously lacked sufficient resources.

These funding sources can enable communities to address the impact of the pandemic on providing educational continuity, address pre-existing challenges in achievement and equity, and perhaps most importantly, undertake a redesign of the educational systems and supports so that the post-pandemic educational system is more resilient and more impactful for ensuring that all students receive an education that ensures college and career readiness.

As districts have grappled with the long-term educational impact of the pandemic, many have concluded that sustained academic support must be enhanced for all students.  Districts have realized that supporting long-term student success will require persistent support over many years and that college and career readiness is the north star of all strategic planning. The window to deepen support for this critically important function with ESSER III/ARP exists now but is closing in under a year.

ARP priorities include promoting students' long-term well-being, enhancing school infrastructure, and addressing student gaps in opportunity in achievement from the pandemic and its long-term impact. A college and career platform clearly and directly meets the intention of the funds. 

Districts CAN use ESSER on Multi-Year Contracts 

With ESSER’s creation and implementation having been in response to unprecedented circumstances and with such a broad and expansive set of purposes, each iteration has resulted in questions from districts about the specific options for use. One key question has been whether districts can pay for services beyond the period of performance. 

In other words, are multi-year contracts allowed with ESSER funding? 

The good news for school districts is that multi-year contracts are, in fact, permitted, with a few caveats. A multi-year CCR platform contract qualifies under other ESSER provisions to extend for up to four years of services beyond the deadline for obligation. That means services can be contracted until September 30, 2028. That is sustained support for students to mitigate the impact of the educational disruption. To qualify for the extended service, a district would need to pay for the length of service by the deadline for obligation and to assert that the extension is needed for student support and does not compromise district budgetary or grant oversight.  

Long-Term Impact with ESSER

The need for student support is a criterion which is unfortunately being seen in districts across the country. Student achievement results on national exams such as NAEP, the ACT, and SAT have dropped significantly. Graduation rates, high school credit accumulation profiles, attendance and chronic absenteeism rates, metrics of disparity among demographic and programmatic sub-groups, and first-yearfirst year college success rates are all showing the negative impact of the pandemic on an entire generation of students. Focusing remaining ESSER funds on the readiness of students for postsecondary success needs to be a top priority for educational leaders.

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ESSER Update: Still Time to Use ESSER Funds

The Elementary and Secondary Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) was originally created as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to provide school districts with financial support in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. To date, there have been three rounds of federal legislation to respond to district needs: the original CARES Act (2020); the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA, 2020); and the American Rescue Plan (ARP, 2021). 

These three funding rounds are collectively referred to as ESSER I, II, and III and represent a combined $190 billion to be used to fund a wide variety of action items on school districts' agendas, provided it falls under the extensive umbrella of: "preventing, preparing for, and responding to Covid-19" and fits into one of the 15 eligible usage categories put forth by the federal government.

Each of the three ESSER grants made available monetary resources to assist states and districts in responding to and mitigating the impact of the pandemic. Each also came with a deadline for obligation, which provided the last date that an educational institution could procure, pay, and begin receiving allowable goods or services with the funds. 

  • ESSER I: Had a deadline for an obligation of September 30, 2022;
  • ESSER II: Had a deadline for an obligation of September 30, 2023
  • ESSER III: The third and final round of ESSER, the American Recovery Plan (ARP), has an obligation deadline of September 30, 2024.  

That leaves only nine months for districts to identify unallocated funds or to repurpose allocated funds that cannot  be spent in a compliant manner or have been reprioritized.  

Does Your District have ESSER Funds Left to Spend? 

Knowing whether a district has fully allocated all ESSER funds it is eligible to receive can be challenging for school-based and district personnel. It is very possible that districts do, in fact, have remaining funds to spend. 

If a district has a grants department, they are usually the coordinators of the development, submittal, and compliance for state and federal grants. But many districts do not have full-time dedicated grant staff. The chief financial or business official must sign off on all grant applications and can provide comparisons of budgeted, received, and spent grant dollars. These departments can provide the most detailed and current district utilization of ESSER funds. District personnel can also search this resource from Georgetown University to find their ESSER expenditures. 

ESSER Funds to Support CCR

The allowable use of these funds is much broader than previous legislation, enabling local districts to directly address the needs of students, teachers, and communities. Ensuring students are college and career ready is the top priority and requires high levels of student achievement, staffing stability, and district planning dedicated to continuous improvement. But with most “supplement not supplant” provisions found in ESSA Title 1 expenditures waived for these COVID-19 pandemic allocations, districts can be bold in undertaking improvement initiatives that have previously lacked sufficient resources.

These funding sources can enable communities to address the impact of the pandemic on providing educational continuity, address pre-existing challenges in achievement and equity, and perhaps most importantly, undertake a redesign of the educational systems and supports so that the post-pandemic educational system is more resilient and more impactful for ensuring that all students receive an education that ensures college and career readiness.

As districts have grappled with the long-term educational impact of the pandemic, many have concluded that sustained academic support must be enhanced for all students.  Districts have realized that supporting long-term student success will require persistent support over many years and that college and career readiness is the north star of all strategic planning. The window to deepen support for this critically important function with ESSER III/ARP exists now but is closing in under a year.

ARP priorities include promoting students' long-term well-being, enhancing school infrastructure, and addressing student gaps in opportunity in achievement from the pandemic and its long-term impact. A college and career platform clearly and directly meets the intention of the funds. 

Districts CAN use ESSER on Multi-Year Contracts 

With ESSER’s creation and implementation having been in response to unprecedented circumstances and with such a broad and expansive set of purposes, each iteration has resulted in questions from districts about the specific options for use. One key question has been whether districts can pay for services beyond the period of performance. 

In other words, are multi-year contracts allowed with ESSER funding? 

The good news for school districts is that multi-year contracts are, in fact, permitted, with a few caveats. A multi-year CCR platform contract qualifies under other ESSER provisions to extend for up to four years of services beyond the deadline for obligation. That means services can be contracted until September 30, 2028. That is sustained support for students to mitigate the impact of the educational disruption. To qualify for the extended service, a district would need to pay for the length of service by the deadline for obligation and to assert that the extension is needed for student support and does not compromise district budgetary or grant oversight.  

Long-Term Impact with ESSER

The need for student support is a criterion which is unfortunately being seen in districts across the country. Student achievement results on national exams such as NAEP, the ACT, and SAT have dropped significantly. Graduation rates, high school credit accumulation profiles, attendance and chronic absenteeism rates, metrics of disparity among demographic and programmatic sub-groups, and first-yearfirst year college success rates are all showing the negative impact of the pandemic on an entire generation of students. Focusing remaining ESSER funds on the readiness of students for postsecondary success needs to be a top priority for educational leaders.

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ESSER Update: Still Time to Use ESSER Funds

The Elementary and Secondary Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) was originally created as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to provide school districts with financial support in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. To date, there have been three rounds of federal legislation to respond to district needs: the original CARES Act (2020); the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA, 2020); and the American Rescue Plan (ARP, 2021). 

These three funding rounds are collectively referred to as ESSER I, II, and III and represent a combined $190 billion to be used to fund a wide variety of action items on school districts' agendas, provided it falls under the extensive umbrella of: "preventing, preparing for, and responding to Covid-19" and fits into one of the 15 eligible usage categories put forth by the federal government.

Each of the three ESSER grants made available monetary resources to assist states and districts in responding to and mitigating the impact of the pandemic. Each also came with a deadline for obligation, which provided the last date that an educational institution could procure, pay, and begin receiving allowable goods or services with the funds. 

  • ESSER I: Had a deadline for an obligation of September 30, 2022;
  • ESSER II: Had a deadline for an obligation of September 30, 2023
  • ESSER III: The third and final round of ESSER, the American Recovery Plan (ARP), has an obligation deadline of September 30, 2024.  

That leaves only nine months for districts to identify unallocated funds or to repurpose allocated funds that cannot  be spent in a compliant manner or have been reprioritized.  

Does Your District have ESSER Funds Left to Spend? 

Knowing whether a district has fully allocated all ESSER funds it is eligible to receive can be challenging for school-based and district personnel. It is very possible that districts do, in fact, have remaining funds to spend. 

If a district has a grants department, they are usually the coordinators of the development, submittal, and compliance for state and federal grants. But many districts do not have full-time dedicated grant staff. The chief financial or business official must sign off on all grant applications and can provide comparisons of budgeted, received, and spent grant dollars. These departments can provide the most detailed and current district utilization of ESSER funds. District personnel can also search this resource from Georgetown University to find their ESSER expenditures. 

ESSER Funds to Support CCR

The allowable use of these funds is much broader than previous legislation, enabling local districts to directly address the needs of students, teachers, and communities. Ensuring students are college and career ready is the top priority and requires high levels of student achievement, staffing stability, and district planning dedicated to continuous improvement. But with most “supplement not supplant” provisions found in ESSA Title 1 expenditures waived for these COVID-19 pandemic allocations, districts can be bold in undertaking improvement initiatives that have previously lacked sufficient resources.

These funding sources can enable communities to address the impact of the pandemic on providing educational continuity, address pre-existing challenges in achievement and equity, and perhaps most importantly, undertake a redesign of the educational systems and supports so that the post-pandemic educational system is more resilient and more impactful for ensuring that all students receive an education that ensures college and career readiness.

As districts have grappled with the long-term educational impact of the pandemic, many have concluded that sustained academic support must be enhanced for all students.  Districts have realized that supporting long-term student success will require persistent support over many years and that college and career readiness is the north star of all strategic planning. The window to deepen support for this critically important function with ESSER III/ARP exists now but is closing in under a year.

ARP priorities include promoting students' long-term well-being, enhancing school infrastructure, and addressing student gaps in opportunity in achievement from the pandemic and its long-term impact. A college and career platform clearly and directly meets the intention of the funds. 

Districts CAN use ESSER on Multi-Year Contracts 

With ESSER’s creation and implementation having been in response to unprecedented circumstances and with such a broad and expansive set of purposes, each iteration has resulted in questions from districts about the specific options for use. One key question has been whether districts can pay for services beyond the period of performance. 

In other words, are multi-year contracts allowed with ESSER funding? 

The good news for school districts is that multi-year contracts are, in fact, permitted, with a few caveats. A multi-year CCR platform contract qualifies under other ESSER provisions to extend for up to four years of services beyond the deadline for obligation. That means services can be contracted until September 30, 2028. That is sustained support for students to mitigate the impact of the educational disruption. To qualify for the extended service, a district would need to pay for the length of service by the deadline for obligation and to assert that the extension is needed for student support and does not compromise district budgetary or grant oversight.  

Long-Term Impact with ESSER

The need for student support is a criterion which is unfortunately being seen in districts across the country. Student achievement results on national exams such as NAEP, the ACT, and SAT have dropped significantly. Graduation rates, high school credit accumulation profiles, attendance and chronic absenteeism rates, metrics of disparity among demographic and programmatic sub-groups, and first-yearfirst year college success rates are all showing the negative impact of the pandemic on an entire generation of students. Focusing remaining ESSER funds on the readiness of students for postsecondary success needs to be a top priority for educational leaders.

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ESSER Update: Still Time to Use ESSER Funds

The Elementary and Secondary Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) was originally created as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to provide school districts with financial support in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. To date, there have been three rounds of federal legislation to respond to district needs: the original CARES Act (2020); the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA, 2020); and the American Rescue Plan (ARP, 2021). 

These three funding rounds are collectively referred to as ESSER I, II, and III and represent a combined $190 billion to be used to fund a wide variety of action items on school districts' agendas, provided it falls under the extensive umbrella of: "preventing, preparing for, and responding to Covid-19" and fits into one of the 15 eligible usage categories put forth by the federal government.

Each of the three ESSER grants made available monetary resources to assist states and districts in responding to and mitigating the impact of the pandemic. Each also came with a deadline for obligation, which provided the last date that an educational institution could procure, pay, and begin receiving allowable goods or services with the funds. 

  • ESSER I: Had a deadline for an obligation of September 30, 2022;
  • ESSER II: Had a deadline for an obligation of September 30, 2023
  • ESSER III: The third and final round of ESSER, the American Recovery Plan (ARP), has an obligation deadline of September 30, 2024.  

That leaves only nine months for districts to identify unallocated funds or to repurpose allocated funds that cannot  be spent in a compliant manner or have been reprioritized.  

Does Your District have ESSER Funds Left to Spend? 

Knowing whether a district has fully allocated all ESSER funds it is eligible to receive can be challenging for school-based and district personnel. It is very possible that districts do, in fact, have remaining funds to spend. 

If a district has a grants department, they are usually the coordinators of the development, submittal, and compliance for state and federal grants. But many districts do not have full-time dedicated grant staff. The chief financial or business official must sign off on all grant applications and can provide comparisons of budgeted, received, and spent grant dollars. These departments can provide the most detailed and current district utilization of ESSER funds. District personnel can also search this resource from Georgetown University to find their ESSER expenditures. 

ESSER Funds to Support CCR

The allowable use of these funds is much broader than previous legislation, enabling local districts to directly address the needs of students, teachers, and communities. Ensuring students are college and career ready is the top priority and requires high levels of student achievement, staffing stability, and district planning dedicated to continuous improvement. But with most “supplement not supplant” provisions found in ESSA Title 1 expenditures waived for these COVID-19 pandemic allocations, districts can be bold in undertaking improvement initiatives that have previously lacked sufficient resources.

These funding sources can enable communities to address the impact of the pandemic on providing educational continuity, address pre-existing challenges in achievement and equity, and perhaps most importantly, undertake a redesign of the educational systems and supports so that the post-pandemic educational system is more resilient and more impactful for ensuring that all students receive an education that ensures college and career readiness.

As districts have grappled with the long-term educational impact of the pandemic, many have concluded that sustained academic support must be enhanced for all students.  Districts have realized that supporting long-term student success will require persistent support over many years and that college and career readiness is the north star of all strategic planning. The window to deepen support for this critically important function with ESSER III/ARP exists now but is closing in under a year.

ARP priorities include promoting students' long-term well-being, enhancing school infrastructure, and addressing student gaps in opportunity in achievement from the pandemic and its long-term impact. A college and career platform clearly and directly meets the intention of the funds. 

Districts CAN use ESSER on Multi-Year Contracts 

With ESSER’s creation and implementation having been in response to unprecedented circumstances and with such a broad and expansive set of purposes, each iteration has resulted in questions from districts about the specific options for use. One key question has been whether districts can pay for services beyond the period of performance. 

In other words, are multi-year contracts allowed with ESSER funding? 

The good news for school districts is that multi-year contracts are, in fact, permitted, with a few caveats. A multi-year CCR platform contract qualifies under other ESSER provisions to extend for up to four years of services beyond the deadline for obligation. That means services can be contracted until September 30, 2028. That is sustained support for students to mitigate the impact of the educational disruption. To qualify for the extended service, a district would need to pay for the length of service by the deadline for obligation and to assert that the extension is needed for student support and does not compromise district budgetary or grant oversight.  

Long-Term Impact with ESSER

The need for student support is a criterion which is unfortunately being seen in districts across the country. Student achievement results on national exams such as NAEP, the ACT, and SAT have dropped significantly. Graduation rates, high school credit accumulation profiles, attendance and chronic absenteeism rates, metrics of disparity among demographic and programmatic sub-groups, and first-yearfirst year college success rates are all showing the negative impact of the pandemic on an entire generation of students. Focusing remaining ESSER funds on the readiness of students for postsecondary success needs to be a top priority for educational leaders.