If there’s one thing everyone can agree on, it’s pie. Pie = good. Did you know that the federal government has set aside a slice just for you? Did you know that the pie itself is worth billions of dollars? It’s true, thanks to the CARES Act.
For schools only
Included in the $2 trillion CARES Act was a $30.75 billion Education Stabilization Fund. Of this, $13.23 billion was earmarked for an Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER).
CARES cares about schools
ESSER funds are designed to assist K-12 schools in responding to distance learning and other COVID-related needs:
- Applications for funds vary for each state*, and ESSER Fund dollars will be appropriated to state education agencies (SEAs) and districts’ previous year’s (2019) Title I shares
- Districts may purchase educational technology as part of their plan for long term closures
- Alignment with Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is essential for using ESSER funding
- There are no limitations on how the money is spent as long as it is related to COVID and/or school closures
- Funds must be spent by September 2022
- The CARES Act requires that at least 90 percent of the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund flow to local education agencies, with no more than 10 percent reserved for the state agency, and a fraction of that for administrative costs.
Timeline of ESSER Funds
Don’t waver about those waivers
The greatest potential impact districts can have on technology spending for 2020-21 is via ESSER waivers:
- Title IV money can be carried over into the 2020-2021 school year where ALL of this money can be spent on technology
- Definition of Professional Development for Title IV is waived – and for districts receiving greater than $30,000 in Title IV Part A funding – allocation for health and safety, no more than 15% of the LEA allocation for technology
- The spending cap for technology infrastructure purchases is removed for 2018 and 2019
More funds mean safer schools
According to the U.S. Census, 47.1% of K-12 education funding comes from state sources. Another 44.9% comes from localities, and typically just 8% comes from the federal government. While localities rely on more stable property taxes, the vast majority of state revenue (just under 90%) comes from two sources—sales and income taxes. The funds afforded to schools through the CARES Act can be the extra financial boost schools need to reach a previously unattained level of student safety.
While this upcoming Fall term may bring with it a lot of unknowns, the good news is that your schools do have different resources available to prioritize the education of students and the safety of everyone.
*If you have questions or need more info about your state, reach out to our team at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be your trusted advisor in making thoughtful, student-centered decisions this school year. We aim to support optimal learning for your students, and peace of mind for your parents and teachers in the digital learning spaces.
The extra funds your school needs are out there. We think it’s time you got acquainted.