What is ESSER Funding?


ESSER Funding Explained

ESSER (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief) funding is the portion of funding in the three COVID-19 relief laws designated to help address educational issues arising from the pandemic. There are three Coronavirus relief bills passed by the U.S. Congress that provided significant funding for K-12 education.

The first funding law is called the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES)Act and it provided $13.5 billion in ESSER I funding. The second funding law is called the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act and it provided $54 billion in ESSER II funds. The third funding law is the American Rescue Plan, which provided an additional $122 billion in ESSER III funds. 

What Are the Restrictions?

ESSER funding comes with a lot of flexibility in how State Education Agencies (SEAs) and Local Education Agencies (LEAs) can spend these funds. However, it is important to remember there are some restrictions on how these funds can be used. The CARES Act, CRRSA Act, and ARP Act ESSER funds include a long list of allowable uses of these funds, including the catch-all use of “Other activities that are necessary to maintain the operation of and continuity of services in the LEA.” Only the ARP Act requires that a portion of the funds be spent on specific activities (20% of LEA funds must be spent to address learning loss, academic enrichment, and afterschool programs). The one major restriction on how ESSER funds may be used is that they must be used to address issues that have been caused or exacerbated by the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. 

How Can I Use It?

Districts can use ESSER funds from any of the three bills for any ESSA activity, which means that districts can use these funds to purchase products from the TransACT family of products, including ParentNotices, AfterSchool21, TravelTracker - Routing, FacilityTracker, and Homeless Information Management System for Students (HIMSS).   

Take a look at this webinar that highlights how our software helps school districts better serve their most vulnerable students, or contact a team member today to learn more about how these products can serve real needs in your district. 

Dr. David Holbrook

About The Author

Dr. David Holbrook is a nationally recognized leader in federal programs administration and monitoring with expertise in Title I, Title III, Native American Education, and Federal Programs. Dr. Holbrook has also worked as a consultant with Title III of the US Department of Education and now serves as Executive Director, Federal Compliance and State Relationships with TransACT Communications.