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Immediate Aid to Restart School Operations Program

Information about the Restart Program grant related to the wildfires and related events of 2017.

Funding Source

U.S. Department of Education (ED)

Program Description

The purpose of the Restart Grant program is to assist local educational agencies (LEAs) and non-public schools with expenses related to the restart of elementary and secondary schools in areas where a major disaster or emergency was declared related to the consequences of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and/or Maria or the California Wildfires in 2017.

Please note that under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, these funds may be used to serve both LEAs (including charter school LEAs) and non-public schools. In general, Restart funds may be used for activities that help the eligible LEA or non-public school reopen and restore normal operations.

Authorized Restart program activities are the following:

  • Recovery of student and personnel data
  • Replacement of school district information systems, including hardware and software
  • Financial operations
  • Reasonable transportation costs
  • Rental of mobile educational units and leasing of neutral sites or spaces
  • Initial replacement of instructional materials and equipment, including textbooks
  • Redeveloping instructional plans, including curriculum development
  • Initiating and maintaining education and support services, and such other activities related to the purpose of the Restart program that are approved by the U.S. ED.

Please note, however, that Restart funds may be used only to supplement, not supplant, any funds made available through the Federal Emergency Management Agency or through a state.

Projected Allocation

Up to $2.5 billion for two separate programs: (1) the Restart Program; and (2) the Temporary Emergency Impact Aid for Displaced Students (Emergency Impact Aid) program. The ED will determine the amount to allocate to the respective programs based on information provided by state educational agencies in applications for the Restart and Emergency Impact Aid programs.

Eligible Recipients

LEAs (which include local school districts, county offices of education, and charter schools), non-public schools, and private schools.

Application and Award Information

On behalf of impacted LEAs and non-public/private schools, the California Department of Education (CDE) applied for and received over $14 million for a Restart Program grant from the U.S. ED. Interested LEAs and private/non-public schools submitted applications to the CDE in March 2017. Funding and reimbursement information was distributed to qualified applicants in July 2018.

The ED indicated in Fall 2018 they will accept additional Restart Program grant applications from states. The CDE will provide more information as it becomes available.

Reimbursement Requests

In order to seek reimbursement for each allowable expenditure submitted on the LEA or nonpublic school application to the CDE, the Immediate Aid to Restart School Operations Reimbursement Request Form (PDF) must be completed online. LEAs and nonpublic schools may enter up to five reimbursement requests on the form. The form must be completed again if there are more than five expenditure requests. LEAs and nonpublic schools must also send receipts or other documentation of proof of expenditure to and attach a signed cover letter on the LEA or nonpublic school's letterhead listing each of the receipts and corresponding expenditures for the Restart program grant. The final day for submitting reimbursement requests is March 13, 2020, in order to meet the grant closing date of April 26, 2020.

LEAs must expend Restart program funds within 24 months of the date the United States Department of Education (ED) obligates the funds. The ED awarded the funds to the CDE on April 26, 2018, and therefore, funds must be expended by April 26, 2020.

Reimbursement requests will be processed each quarter and warrants will be issued to each county treasurer’s office within approximately six weeks. For example, if an LEA submits the required forms and reimbursement requests by August 15, 2018, the warrant will be issued on or about September 30, 2018.

LEA/Nonpublic School Deadlines to Submit Reimbursement Requests:

  • August 15, 2018
  • December 14, 2018
  • April 15, 2019
  • August 15, 2019
  • December 13, 2019
  • March 13, 2020

The ED grant award number for this funding source is S938A180001. The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance subprogram number is 84.938 (Elementary and Secondary Education Hurricane Relief—Immediate Aid to Restart School Operations). The funding is appropriated in Schedule (4) of Item 6100-102-0890 of the Budget Act of 2018 (Chapter 29, Statutes of 2018). The California sub-allocation (pass-through) number is Program Cost Account 15389.


LEAs, nonpublic schools and other public agencies or contractors that administer portions of this program must maintain adequate written records to support how funds were received, disbursed, and spent under the program, including all records necessary to facilitate an effective audit. The records must be made available, upon request, during monitoring and audits pursuant to title 2 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) parts 200.333-200.337; General Education Provisions Act (GEPA) section 443andsection 1232(f) of title 20 of the United States Code.

In addition, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 designates the Restart program to be “susceptible to significant improper payments” for purposes of the Improper Payments Information Act of 2002 (31 U.S.C. § 3321 note). This results in additional requirements for LEAs and nonpublic schools under the program, including making expenditure information and documentation available for review by the ED, starting with the federal fiscal year 2019 reporting period. The ED will provide additional information about this requirement after the CDE makes awards, and will provide advanced notice to ensure grantees understand their responsibilities for documenting all expenditures of Restart program funds. In general, these documentation requirements are identical to those ordinarily required for all federal education program expenditures; the primary impact of the Improper Payments Information Act is an increased review of this documentation.

Administrative Costs

An LEA may charge, as an expense to the Restart program, an amount that is reasonable and necessary to effectively administer the program. Administrative costs include costs (direct and indirect) involved in the proper and efficient performance and administration of this federal grant. For example, LEAs may use Restart program funds to hire personnel to assist in the planning, implementation and oversight of Restart program activities.

Supplement Not Supplant

Restart program funds must be used to supplement, and may not supplant, any funds made available through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) or through the state.

An eligible LEA or nonpublic school may use Restart program funds for activities that may be supported from FEMA or the state source if

  • the LEA, or school has not received such other benefits by the time of application for Restart program; and
  • the LEA or school agrees to repay all duplicative federal assistance received to carry out the purposes of Restart program.

For example, an LEA may use Restart program funds for costs that may ultimately be covered by FEMA; however, once it receives funds from FEMA for those costs, it must reimburse the Restart program grant account. At the same time, the LEA may use those Restart program funds for other allowable Restart program costs. In the simplest of terms, “double-dipping” is prohibited.

If an LEA or school has not yet received insurance reimbursement for Restart program allowable costs that may also be covered by insurance, it may charge those activities to Restart program funds and then reimburse the Restart program grant account once it receives the insurance payment. Again, “double-dipping” is prohibited.


Questions:   Emergency Services Team |
Last Reviewed: Monday, May 23, 2022
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