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ESSER III Expenditure Plan FAQs

American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER III) fund Expenditure Plan frequently asked questions (FAQs) and responses.

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  1. What is the ESSER III Expenditure Plan?

    Local educational agencies (LEAs) that receive Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds under the ARP Act, referred to as ESSER III funds, are required to develop a plan detailing how they will use their ESSER III funds. In the plan, an LEA must explain how it intends to use its ESSER III funds to address the academic impact of lost instructional time as well as respond to the academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs of all students, particularly those students disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

  1. Where can questions regarding the ESSER III Expenditure Plan be directed?

    Please send any questions regarding the ESSER III Expenditure Plan, including questions about the template and review process, to LCFF@cde.ca.gov.

  1. Is there a template that must be used for the ESSER III Expenditure Plan?

    Yes, the ESSER III Expenditure Plan template found on the ARP Act Funding web page is the required format for the plan. Instructions for the plan start on page 6 of the template.

  1. When must the ESSER III Expenditure Plan be adopted?

    The ESSER III Expenditure Plan must be adopted by the local governing board or body of the LEA at a public meeting on or before October 29, 2021.

  1. What are the timelines for the ESSER III Expenditure Plan review and approval?

    The LEA’s governing board or body must adopt its ESSER III Expenditure Plan at a public meeting on or before October 29, 2021. The adopted plan must be submitted to the LEA’s reviewing authority or authorities for review and approval within five days of adoption. 

    Once submitted, the reviewing authority or authorities will approve the ESSER III Expenditure Plan by Friday, December 17, 2021.

    County offices of education (COEs) must submit a list of the LEAs with approved Expenditure Plans to the California Department of Education (CDE) via email at LCAPReview@cde.ca.gov no later than January 21, 2022.

  1. Who is the LEA’s Reviewing Authority for the ESSER III Expenditure Plan?
    • A school district must submit its ESSER III Expenditure Plan to its COE for review and approval.
    • A COE or a single-district county must submit its ESSER III Expenditure Plan to the CDE for review and approval via email at LCAPReview@cde.ca.gov.   
    • A charter school must submit its ESSER III Expenditure Plan to its chartering authority for review and to the COE of the county in which the charter school operates for review and approval.
  2. Will the reviewing authority also review and approve the LEA’s Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan?

    No. More information about the LEA Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan can be found on the ARP Act Funding web page. It is expected that LEAs will provide high-level responses of approximately a couple of paragraphs to each of the questions listed in the template. Submission and any questions regarding the template should be submitted to EmergencyServices@cde.ca.gov.

  1. Who are the community members that LEAs must engage in meaningful consultation with when developing the ESSER III Expenditure Plan?

    At a minimum, LEAs must engage in meaningful consultation with the following community members when developing the ESSER III Expenditure Plan:

    1. Students;
    2. Families;
    3. School and district administrators (including special education administrators); and
    4. Teachers, principals, school leaders, other educators, school staff, and their unions.


    The LEA must also engage in meaningful consultation with each of the following community members to the extent they are present in or served by the LEA:

    1. Tribes;
    2. Civil rights organizations (including disability rights organizations);and
    3. Individuals or advocates representing the interests of children with disabilities, English learners, children experiencing homelessness, children and youth in foster care, migratory students, children who are incarcerated, and other underserved students.
  2. Are LEAs required to update their ESSER III Expenditure Plans?

    The ESSER III Expenditure Plans are considered “living documents” and as such should be revised as needed to address the changing and newly emerging needs of the LEA’s students, particularly its underserved students.

  1. Are LEAs allowed to update their ESSER III Expenditure Plans?

    Yes. LEAs are allowed to update their ESSER III Expenditure Plans to address the changing and newly emerging needs of their students, particularly their underserved students.

  1. Must the revised ESSER III Expenditure Plan be submitted for review and approval to the LEA’s reviewing authority?

    No, only the initial ESSER III Expenditure Plan must be submitted for review and approval.

  1. Must the revised plan be submitted and adopted by the LEA’s governing board?

    Whether a revised plan must be submitted to the LEA’s local governing board or body for adoption is a local decision that should be made in consultation with the LEAs stakeholders.

Questions:   Local Agency Systems Support Office | LCFF@cde.ca.gov
Last Reviewed: Monday, August 16, 2021