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CRRSA ESSER II: Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund II (ESSER II)

On December 27, 2020, the federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 (CRRSA Act), Public Law 116-260, was signed into law and provided an additional $54.3 billion nationwide for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER II Fund).

The purpose of the additional funding is to provide direct money to LEAs to assist in safely reopening schools, measuring and effectively addressing significant learning loss, and taking other actions to respond to the impact of COVID-19 on educators, students, and families. Allowable uses include all possible expenditures under CARES ESSER I.

Overview

In addition to the ESSER I uses of funds, the CRRSA Act ESSER II law highlights three (3) categories of allowable activities that were not specifically identified in CARES Act ESSER I. These include:

  • Addressing learning loss
  • Preparing schools for reopening
  • Testing, repairing, and upgrading projects to improve air quality in buildings

Additionally, there are important distinctions between the CARES Act ESSER I and CRRSA Act ESSER II programs, including the period of fund availability, equitable services to nonpublic schools, and reporting on efforts to measure and address student learning loss.

ESSER II Fund awards to LEAs (including charter schools that are LEAs) are allocated in the same proportion as those funds received under Part A of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended, in school year 2020-21. In accordance with the CRRSA Act, LEAs are not required to provide equitable services.

  • A separate program, the Emergency Assistance to Non-public Schools (EANS) was authorized as part of the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER II) Fund. Additional information regarding EANS will be forthcoming.

It is important to note that CRRSA Act ESSER II funds are not subject to Title I, Part A requirements.

It should also be noted that CRRSA Act ESSER II funding is a one-time appropriation from the U.S. Department of Education (USDE). In developing local plans, LEAs should consider how CRRSA Act ESSER II funding might interact with other federal funding to promote sustainable use.

Allowable Use of Funds

The CRRSA Act ESSER II funding has the same allowable activities as the CARES Act ESSER I funds, but specifically identifies three (3) activities; these activities are marked with an asterisk (*). LEAs may use their CRRSA Act ESSER II funding on the following allowable activities:

  1. Activities authorized under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006, the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, or the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act.
  2. Coordination of preparedness and response efforts of local educational agencies with State, local, Tribal, and territorial public health departments, and other relevant agencies, to improve coordinated responses among such entities to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.
  3. Providing principals and others school leaders with the resources necessary to address the needs of their individual schools.
  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, including how outreach and service delivery will meet the needs of each population.
  5. Developing and implementing procedures and systems to improve the preparedness and response efforts of local educational agencies.
  6. Training and professional development for staff of the local educational agency on sanitation and minimizing the spread of infectious diseases.
  7. Purchasing supplies to sanitize and clean the facilities of a local educational agency, including buildings operated by such agency.
  8. Planning for and coordinating during long-term closures, including for how to provide meals to eligible students, how to provide technology for online learning to all students, how to provide guidance for carrying out requirements under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. 1401 et seq.) and how to ensure other educational services can continue to be provided consistent with all Federal, State, and local requirements.
  9. Purchasing educational technology (including hardware, software, and connectivity) for students who are served by the local educational agency that aids in regular and substantive educational interaction between students and their classroom instructors, including low-income students and students with disabilities, which may include assistive 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, children with disabilities, English learners, racial and ethnic minorities, students experiencing homelessness, and children and youth in foster care, of the local educational agency, including by:
    1. Administering and using high-quality assessments that are valid and reliable, to accurately assess students’ academic progress and assist educators in meeting students’ academic needs, including through differentiating instruction.
    2. Implementing evidence-based activities to meet the comprehensive needs of students.
    3. Providing information and assistance to parents and families on how they can effectively support students, including in a distance learning environment.
    4. Tracking student attendance and improving student engagement in distance education.
  13. School facility repairs and improvements to enable operation of schools to reduce risk of virus transmission and exposure to environmental health hazards, 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 the operation of and continuity of services in local educational agencies and continuing to employ existing staff of the local educational agency.

Note that the USDE generally does not consider the following to be an allowable use of ESSER funds:

1) Subsidizing or offsetting executive salaries and benefits of individuals who are not employees of the SEA or LEAs; or
2) Expenditures related to state or local teacher or faculty unions or associations.

Grant Funding Period

  • Start Period: Funds may be used for allowable costs incurred on or after March 13, 2020;
  • Obligated through: September 30, 2023, which includes the Tydings period (General Education Provisions Act §421(b)(1)); and
  • Liquidated by: October 13, 2023.

Supplement not Supplant

ESSER II funds are not subject to the supplement-not-supplant requirement.

Fund Accounting

Because CRRSA Act ESSER II funds can be used for an expanded set of purposes, and spent during a different timeframe, they must be accounted for separately from the CARES Act ESSER I funds. Additional information on reporting and accounting guidance for these funds is forthcoming.

Reporting

LEAs will be required to provide reports to the NHDOE documenting the amount of CRRSA Act ESSER II funds spent in each allowable use category. Due dates for these reports will be outlined in the EWEG system. In addition, LEAs will be subject to applicable monitoring processes on the uses of CRRSA Act ESSER II funds.

CRSSA Act ESSER II Documents

ESSER II Allocations

Federal Grant Compliance Fact and Information Sheets 

GEPA Requirements for ESSER Applications: 

Contact: 

Katie Murphy
CARES ACT and CRRSA Act Administrator             
(603) 271-3838
[email protected]