With a wave of federal funds supporting education through two new programs, the US Department of Education has released a frequently-asked-questions document – intended for school administrators, but potentially useful to other stakeholders.
The US Department of Education has issued guidance about how funding under the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund, including the American Rescue Plan (ARP) ESSER program, and the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund may be used in response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on students in pre-K-12 education.
From the FAQ document:
The purpose of this document is to answer Frequently Asked Questions about how funding under the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund,including the American Rescue Plan ESSER (ARP ESSER) program, and the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund maybe used in response to the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID–19) pandemic on students in pre–K–12 education.
Under ESSER, established in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, Pub. L. No. 116–136(March 27, 2020), and further funded under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act, 2021, Pub. L. No. 116–260 (December 27, 2020)and the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act of 2021, Pub. L.No.117–2 (March 11, 2021), the U.S. Department of Education (Department) awarded grants to State educational agencies (SEAs) for the purpose of providing local educational agencies (LEAs) that receive funds under part A of title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), including charter schools that are LEAs, with emergency relief funds to address the impact the COVID–19 pandemic has had, and continues to have, on elementary and secondary schools across the Nation.
Under GEER, established in the CARES Act and further funded under the CRRSA Act, the Department awarded grants to Governors for the purpose of providing LEAs, institutions of higher education (IHEs), and other education–related entities with emergency support as a result of the COVID–19 pandemic. GEER funds for an LEA are intended to support its ability to continue to provide educational services to its students and to support the ongoing functionality of the LEA.
Other than statutory and regulatory requirements included in the document,such as those pursuant to the authorizing statute and other applicable laws and regulations, the contents of this document do not have the force and effect of law and are not meant to bind the public in any way. This document is intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding existing requirements under the law or agency policies. In addition, it does not create or confer any rights for or on any person.
This document contains examples of resources that are provided for the user’s convenience. The inclusion of these resources is not intended to reflect their importance, nor is it intended to endorse any views expressed, or products or services offered,by these entities. These resources may include materials that contain the views and recommendations of various subject–matter experts as well as hypertext links, contact addresses and websites to information created and maintained by other public and private organizations. The opinions expressed in any of these materials do not necessarily reflect the positions or policies of the Department. The Department does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of any outside information included in the materials that may be provided by these resources.
The Department may provide additional or updated information as necessary on the Department’s websites:
• CARES Act and CRRSA Act ESSER
• CARES Act and CRRSA Act GEER
If you have questions that are not answered in this document, please e–mail ESSERF@ed.govfor questions related to ESSER, or GEERF@ed.govfor questions related to GEER.