The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 is set to provide significant boosts to available K-12 federal funds, with the most significant increase coming in the form of the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) II, a $54 billion successor to last March’s initial version of the bill.
In addition to ESSER, the Act also increases funds for Title I and IDEA programming. Also supported are Title II and IV, plus after-school programming, career & technical education, and the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) fund.
For school districts, the prudent plan is to avoid large expenses that will result in a “fiscal cliff” once the funds are exhausted. Large recurring expenses such as raises or new hires should be avoided in favor of contracting and other variable spending that can be adjusted annually.
Yes! ESSER funds are flexible and not bound by Title I rules, so they can be used for any programming or activities that address learning loss and/or respond to COVID-19. In professional learning, this could include things like:
ESSER includes robust reporting requirements, and large expenditures of this size draw scrutiny from both overseers and the public. Districts will have to account carefully for funding outcomes, with specific emphasis on how the money addressed learning loss.
Ready to find out more? Click here for a rundown of available federal funding for teacher PD.
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