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ESSER II Fund Frequently Asked Questions

Elementary and Secondary School Relief (ESSER II) fund frequently asked questions and responses.

1. How much funding was California awarded for ESSER II funds?

The ESSER II Fund accounts for approximately $54.3 billion of funding for all states and California’s allocation is $6,709,633,866. No less than 90 percent of its allocation ($6,038,670,479) must be used to make subgrants to LEAs, based on each LEA’s share of funds received under Title I, Part A in fiscal year (FY) 2020–21. The remaining up to 10 percent may be used for the State reserve.

2. Do LEAs need to apply for ESSER II funds?

Yes. The ESSER II funding includes formula funds (90% of the state’s full allocation) which will be allocated to local educational agencies (LEAs) based on FY 2020–21 Title I shares. LEAs will need to apply for their allocation of ESSER II funds by submitting program assurances. The application can be found on the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act Funding web page. LEAs must apply by April 20th, 2021 to be included in the first apportionment.

The process for distribution of the remaining state reserve/set-aside funds (up to 10% of the total state allocation) has not yet been finalized by the Legislature and Governor.

3. Will the CDE post preliminary allocations?

Yes, the California Department of Education (CDE) has posted LEAs’ revised allocations on the CRRSA Act Funding web page.

4. Are LEAs that did not receive Title I funds in the most recent fiscal year eligible for ESSER II Funds?

With one exception, as described below, no, LEAs that did not receive Title I funds in FY 2020–21 are not eligible to receive ESSER II funds. LEAs receive ESSER II funds based on their relative share of FY 2020–21 Title I funds. If an LEA did not receive Title I funds in the most recent fiscal year—either because it was not eligible or because it declined funding—then it would not generate a share of ESSER II funds, and therefore not eligible to receive ESSER II funds.

The exception is for charter schools that are new in the 2021–22 school year (and thus did not receive a Title I allocation for 2020–21), then federal law requires that CDE hold back a reasonable portion of its ESSER II funds in order to provide those charter schools with allocations once their Title I enrollments are known.

5. Do any supplement not supplant requirements apply to ESSER II funds?

No. The ESSER II Fund does not include a local supplement, not supplant requirement. Thus, there is no prohibition on an LEA using ESSER II funds to pay expenses formerly funded by another source.

6. What are the allowable uses of ESSER II funds?

The ESSER II Funds can be used in much the same way as the ESSER I Funds under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The difference is that with ESSER II there are more defined allowable uses:

  1. Any activity authorized by the ESEA, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA), the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins), or the McKinney Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act.
  2. Coordination of LEA preparedness and response efforts 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 school needs.
  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.
  5. Developing and implementing procedures and systems to improve LEA preparedness and response efforts.
  6. Training and professional development for LEA staff on sanitation and minimizing the spread of infectious diseases.
  7. Purchasing supplies to sanitize and clean LEA facilities.
  8. Planning for and coordinating 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 assistance technology or adaptive equipment.
  10. Providing mental health services and supports.
  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 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.
    • Tracking student attendance and improving student engagement in distance education.
  13. School facility repairs and improvements to reduce the risk of virus transmission 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. Other activities that are necessary to maintain operations and continuity of services and continuing to employ existing staff.

7. How long do LEAs have to use ESSER II funds?

ESSER II funds are available for obligation by LEAs through September 30, 2023.

8. Must LEAs pay existing contracts in order to receive ESSER II funds?

Section 315 of the CRRSA Act External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF) requires entities that receive ESSER II funds to continue to pay employees and contractors “to the greatest extent practicable.”

9. Can LEAs use funds to reimburse previous expenses?

Yes. ED has stated that LEAs may use the funds for expenses incurred beginning March 13, 2020, the date on which the President declared a national emergency.

10. Are ESSER II funds subject to an equitable services requirement?

No, the CRRSA Act includes a separate program of Emergency Assistance for Non-Public Schools (EANS) for which eligible non-public schools may apply to an SEA to receive services or assistance. Consequently, LEAs are not required to provide equitable services under ESSER II. More information can be found on the CDE’s EANS web page.

11. Why is the CDE not apportioning an LEA’s full allocation? How will payments be calculated?

As with most other federal funds apportioned to LEAs, ESSER II Funds are subject to federal cash management requirements. As such, CDE is required to implement cash management practices that minimize the time elapsing between the receipt and disbursement of funds by recipients of formula-based federal grants awarded by the CDE. By agreement with the federal government, CDE meets this requirement, in part, by apportioning LEAs 10% of their total allocation less remaining cash balance from prior apportionments.

12. How often will LEAs receive payment?

LEAs will receive payment approximately six to eight weeks after the quarterly reporting window closes.

13. Are ESSER II funds subject to the excess interest calculation?

Yes. For more information about interest calculation, see Calculating Interest Earned on Federal Funds.

14. Will LEAs be required to report to CDE on these funds?

Yes, the CDE requires LEAs to report on the use of funds. The CDE will be releasing more information on reporting requirements in the near future. The reporting process will be similar to those for other federal stimulus funds.

15. Will LEAs be required to track ESSER I and II funds separately?

Yes, ESSER II funds must be tracked separately from ESSER I funds. Standardized Account Code Structure (SACS) Resource Code 3212 has been assigned for ESSER II revenue.

Questions:   CDE Federal Stimulus Team | EDReliefFunds@cde.ca.gov
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, April 27, 2021
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