ESSER I: As part of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, Congress established and appropriated a total of $13.2 billion for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund. ESSER funds are distributed to states based on each state's proportionate share of Title I, Part A (Title I-A) funding from 2019. ESSER funds are intended to support COVID-19 response efforts and may be spent on a wide range of allowable activities.
ESSER II: The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA Act) was enacted December 27, 2020 and includes an additional $53.4 billion for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER II Fund).
ESSER II Fund awards were awarded to states based on the proportion of funding each state received under Part A of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended, in fiscal year 2020. Pennsylvania’s ESSER II allocation is $2.22 billion.
Pursuant to Sec. 313 of the CRRSA Act, the Pennsylvania Department of Education will grant ESSER II Fund awards to school districts and charters schools based on their proportionate share of the Title I-A (FY 2020) formula.
ARP ESSER is one-time emergency relief funding, and, as such, LEAs are expected to use this funding to ensure the safe return to in-person instruction as well as to meet students’ academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs and address the opportunity gaps that existed before—and were exacerbated by—the COVID-19 pandemic.
At least 20 percent of each LEA’s allocation must be used to measure and address the academic impact of lost instructional time through the implementation of evidence-based interventions, such as summer learning or summer enrichment, extended day, comprehensive afterschool programs, or extended school year programs.
In addition, the LEA must take educational equity into account in planning for and expending ARP ESSER funds, including but not limited to implementing an equitable and inclusive return to in-person instruction. Activities under ARP ESSER should specifically address the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on certain groups of students, including:
- Students from low-income families;
- Students from each racial or ethnic group (e.g., identifying disparities and focusing on underserved student groups by race or ethnicity);
- Gender (e.g., identifying disparities and focusing on underserved student groups by gender);
- English learners;
- Children with disabilities (including infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities eligible under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act [IDEA]);
- Students experiencing homelessness;
- Children and youth in foster care;
- Migrant students; and
- Other groups disproportionately impacted by the pandemic that have been identified by the LEA (e.g., youth involved in the criminal justice system, students who have missed the most in-person instruction during the 2019–2020 and 2020–2021 school years, students who did not consistently participate in remote instruction when offered during school building closures, and LGBTQ+ students).
For school districts, the LEA Plan for the Use of ARP ESSER Funds should consider both individual schools and districtwide activities based on student needs.
ARP ESSER 7% Set Aside: Learning Loss
- Implementation of evidence-based interventions to address learning loss and provide summer enrichment and comprehensive after-school programs in response to the academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs of students, particularly subgroups of students disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, in accordance with section 2001(f)(1) of the ARP Act
ARP ESSER 7% Set Aside: Summer School
- Implementation of evidence-based summer enrichment programs, and ensuring such programs respond to students' academic, social, and emotional needs and address the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus on the student populations described in section 1111(b)(2)(B)(xi) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 6311(b)(2)(B)(xi)), students experiencing homelessness, and children and youth in foster care (section 2001(f)(2) of the ARP Act)
ARP ESSER 7% Set Aside: After School
- Implementation of evidence-based comprehensive afterschool programs, and ensure such programs respond to students' academic, social, and emotional needs and address the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus on the student populations described in section 1111(b)(2)(B)(xi) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 6311(b)(2)(B)(xi)), students experiencing homelessness, and children and youth in foster care (section 2001(f)(3) of the ARP Act)