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ESSER I Funding

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides funding to LEAs through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER I) Fund, to address the impact of COVID-19 on elementary and secondary schools.

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Congress set aside approximately $13.2 billion of the $30.75 billion allotted to the Education Stabilization Fund through the CARES Act for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER I) Fund External link opens in new window or tab.. This funding will provide local educational agencies (LEAs) with emergency relief funds to address the impact that Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has had, and continues to have, on elementary and secondary schools across the nation.

State awards for the ESSER I Fund are in the same proportion as each state received under Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended, in fiscal year 2019–20. Each state must use no less than 90 percent of its allocation ($1,482,575,514) to make subgrants to LEAs, based on each LEA’s share of funds received under Title I, Part A in fiscal year 2019–20.

Information on ESSER II, funding allotted through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act is available on the CDE CRRSA Act Funding web page. Information on ESSER III, funding allotted through the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act is available on the CDE ARP Act Funding web page.

Application for Funds | Use of Funds | Funding | ESSER I Fund FAQs | Reporting Requirements | Other Information

Application for Funds - Closed

Eligible LEAs who completed the application by July 15, 2020 received the first apportionment of funds that went out September 2020. Eligible LEAs had until April 7, 2021 to apply for funds through subsequent apportionments based on quarterly expenditure reporting. Please see below under "Funding" for more information on the apportionment calculation.

The ESSER I Fund application closed on April 7, 2021. LEAs applied for their allocation of ESSER I funds by submitting program assurances. LEAs can utilize the search option below which will display the application submission status of educational entities for the ESSER I Fund.

ESSER I Assurances Search

Please note: These assurances are for the CARES Act ESSER funds, not the CRRSA Act ESSER II funds or the ARP Act ESSER III funds. Information on the ESSER II funds, including assurances, is available on the CDE CRRSA Act Funding web page. Information on the ESSER III funds, including assurances, is available on the CDE ARP Act Funding web page.

Use of Funds

An LEA may use ESSER I funds for any allowable expenditure incurred on or after March 13, 2020, the date the President declared the national emergency due to COVID-19. Federal cash management rules will apply to this funding.

An LEA may use ESSER funds for the broad range of activities listed in section 18003(d) of the CARES Act, section 313(d) of the CRRSA Act, and section 2001(e) of the ARP Act, based on guidance that what is allowable under one of the ESSER funds is allowable under all of the ESSER funds. Use of any ESSER funds (ESSER I, ESSER II, or ESSER III) must be in accordance with allowable uses in any of these three federal stimulus acts. Below is a consolidated list of allowable uses. Please note that these allowable uses categories will also be utilized during quarterly reporting on each of the ESSER funds.

  1. Any activity authorized by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA), or the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins) or the McKinney Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act.
  2. Coordinating preparedness and response efforts of LEA with state, local, tribal, and territorial public health departments, and other relevant agencies, to improve coordinated responses with other agencies to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.
  3. Providing principals and other school leaders with the resources necessary to address the unique needs of their individual schools.
  4. 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.
  5. Developing and implementing procedures and systems to improve the preparedness and response efforts of LEAs.
  6. LEA staff training and professional development on sanitation and minimizing the spread of infectious diseases.
  7. Purchasing supplies to sanitize and clean the facilities of an LEA, including buildings operated by such agency.
  8. Planning for, coordinating, and implementing activities during long-term closures, including how to provide meals, technology for online learning, guidance on IDEA requirements, and ensuring other educational services can continue to be provided consistent with all applicable requirements.
  9. Purchasing educational technology (including hardware, software, and connectivity) for students served by the LEA that aids in regular and substantive educational interactions between students and their classroom teachers, including low-income students and children with disabilities, which may include assistive technology or adaptive equipment.
  10. Providing mental health services and supports, including through the implementation of evidence-based full-service community schools.
  11. Planning and implementing activities related to summer learning and supplemental afterschool programs, including providing classroom instruction or online learning during the summer months and addressing the needs of low-income students, students with disabilities, English learners, migrant students, students experiencing homelessness, and children in foster care.
  12. Addressing learning loss among students, including low-income students, students with disabilities, English learners, racial and ethnic minorities, students experiencing homelessness, and children 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 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.
    • Tracking student attendance and improving student engagement in distance education.
  13. 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.
  14. Inspection, testing, maintenance, repair, replacement, and upgrade projects to improve the indoor air quality in school facilities, including mechanical and non-mechanical heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems, filtering, purification, and other air cleaning, fans, control systems, and window and door repair and replacement.
  15. 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
  16. Other activities that are necessary to maintain operations and continuity of services and continuing to employ existing staff.

Funding

The Schedule of Allocations for ESSER I can be found at the ESSER I Funding Results web page.

In order to have received an allocation, LEAs must have submitted the ESSER I Legal Assurances by April 7, 2021.

ESSER I fund allocations are based on an LEA’s share of funding received under Title I, Part A in fiscal year (FY) 2019–20. To have received 2019–20 Title I, Part A, an LEA must have: 

  • Been deemed an eligible LEA as reflected by a minimum U.S. Census Bureau estimated poverty count of 10 and poverty rate greater than 2%; and,
  • Applied for funds on CARS no later than March 31, 2020*; and,
  • Submitted the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) Federal Addendum no later than March 31, 2020*

*Exception

ESSER I fund allocations for new or significantly expanding charter schools in FY 2020–21 are based on their share of funding received under Title I, Part A in FY 2020–21. To have an FY 2020–21 Title I, Part A allocation, the charter school must have:

  • Been deemed an eligible LEA as reflected by a minimum Free and Reduced Price Meals (FRPM) count of 34 and poverty rate greater than 2% as of October 7, 2020; and,
  • Applied for funds on CARS no later than March 31, 2021; and,
  • Submitted the LCAP Federal Addendum no later than March 31, 2021

The first apportionment in September 2020 apportioned 25% of the total preliminary allocation. Subsequent apportionments allotted 25% of the allocation plus expenditures reported and minus amounts previously paid, up to the full amount of the allocation for ESSER I. The second apportionment was distributed in late December 2020.

ESSER I Fund FAQs

ESSER I Fund Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) (Updated 13-Jul-2021)

Reporting Requirements

LEAs will be required to report on any CARES Act funds that they received. These funds must be tracked and reported on separately from CRSSA Act and ARP Act funds. Please visit the CDE Federal Stimulus Funding web page for more detailed reporting requirements. Reporting timelines are available on the Federal Stimulus Funding Reporting web page. For reporting on the use of ESSER I funds, please use the Federal Stimulus Funds Reporting Application.

The federal requirements found in the CARES Act require that the ESSER I Fund and the GEER I Fund be subject to the Uniform Grants Guidance program management regulations Those regulations contain a requirement that capital expenditures greater than $5,000 have prior written approval. Please refer to the Federal Stimulus Funding web page Capital Expenditures section for more information and the pre-approval application.

Interest Earned on ESSER I Fund: ESSER I Funds are subject to Title 2, Code of Federal Regulations, Section 200.305, which requires grantees and sub-grantees to remit interest earned on advances to the federal agency. Grantees or sub-grantees may retain interest amounts up to $500 per year for related administrative expenses. For more information, please refer to the CDE web page on Interest Earned on Federal Funds.

Other Information

  • ESSER Fund Certification and Agreement External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
    Link to U.S. Department of Education’s state application to apply for funds. LEAs should not complete and submit this application to the California Department of Education, provided solely for informational purposes.
Questions:   CDE Federal Stimulus Team | EDReliefFunds@cde.ca.gov
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, September 15, 2021
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