On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed the CARES Act, which is a $2 trillion package of assistance measures. The 880 page Act is available at https://www.congress.gov/116/bills/hr748/BILLS-116hr748enr.pdf.
The CARES Act provides States the opportunity to apply for waivers and to request funding.
The Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) requested the following waivers. Information regarding waivers and waiver requests will be updated on this webpage.
On April 16, 2020, the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) submitted a letter to Scott Stump, Assistant Secretary for Career, Technical, and Adult Education, requesting an extension of the period of availability of FY2018 Title I of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Act of 2006 which allows subrecipients until September 30, 2021, to expend these funds. The waiver was approved on April 29, 2020 by Scott Stump (approval letter). Submit public comment to https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfa1qIcrveGmhY2BP3yFl_mCQE5WMz_qWhm1f2rG8al5OQB_g/viewform.
On April 6, 2020, the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) submitted a letter to Frank Brogan, Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education, requesting a waiver for federal fund carry-over restrictions, period of availability of funds, Title IV requirements, and the definition of professional development. The waiver was approved on April 21, 2020, by Frank Brogan (approval letter). Submit public comment to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) developed a document to explain the impact of the federal waivers. DESE will update the document as more information becomes available. The document is available at https://docs.google.com/document/d/1N0fOukqQiuXGui7kmUUUFHysBJ02LCGL757LHKGwGSQ/edit?usp=sharing.
On March 23, 2020, the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) submitted a letter to Frank Brogan, Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education, requesting a waiver from assessment, accountability and reporting 2020. The waiver was approved on March 27, 2020, by Frank Brogan (approval letter). Submit public comment to email@example.com.
The CARES Act provides multiple opportunities for funding. As funding opportunities become available for public school districts and nonpublic schools, the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) will provide information and updates to this webpage. Additional information about CARES Act funding is available at https://oese.ed.gov/offices/education-stabilization-fund/.
Congress set aside approximately $13.2 billion of the $30.75 billion allotted to the Education Stabilization Fund through the CARES Act for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund. The U.S. Department of Education (USED) will award these grants to State educational agencies (SEAs) for the purpose of providing local educational agencies (LEAs), including charter schools that are LEAs, with emergency relief funds to address the impact that COVID-19 has had, and continues to have, on elementary and secondary schools across the nation. Additional information about the ESSER Fund is available at https://oese.ed.gov/offices/education-stabilization-fund/elementary-secondary-school-emergency-relief-fund/.
On May 12, 2020, the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) applied for $128,758,638.00 ESSER funds. The submitted application is available here. The application was approved on May 14, 2020 and funds became available on May 14, 2020.
LEAs that receive ESSER funds must provide equitable services to students and teachers in non-public schools located within the LEA. LEAs must engage in timely and meaningful consultation with representatives of non-public schools. Please see Commissioner's Memo COM-21-029.
Highlighted points regarding Equitable Services:
As a condition of receiving ESSER funds, States must maintain support for elementary and secondary education in FY2020 and FY2021 at least at the levels of support that is the average of such State's support for elementary and secondary education in the three fiscal years preceding March 27, 2020. Information about maintenance of effort is posted on the DESE website at http://dese.ade.arkansas.gov/divisions/fiscal-and-administrative-services/lea-federal-funding/maintenance-of-effort.
To the greatest extent practicable, recipients of ESSER funds must continue to pay their employees and contractors during COVID-19 disruptions or closures. More guidance is available at https://www2.ed.gov/documents/coronavirus/factsheet-fiscal-questions.pdf
DESE will provide technical assistance to LEAs through Commissioner's Memos, webinars, and upon request. General technical assistance will be posted on this webpage. Please send specific requests to firstname.lastname@example.org.
|CARES Act – ESSER Funds Webinar||May 18, 2020 (9:00am)||Watch Recording|
|Memo #||Memo Title||Date Posted|
|FIN-20-042||CARES Funding Data||4/29/2020|
|COM-20-119||CARES Act – ESSER Funds Webinar – May 18, 2020||5/13/2020|
|COM-20-120||CARES Act - webpage, LEA application, and webinar||5/15/2020|
|FIN-20-047||2019-20 Preliminary CARES Allocations||5/15/2020|
|FIN-20-054||2019-20 Preliminary CARES Allocations with Equitable Services Set Aside||6/16/2020|
CARES Act Equitable Services
DESE must submit, within 60 days of receiving ESSER funds, a budget for the SEA reserve and an internal control and subrecipient monitoring plan.
DESE must submit quarterly reports to the U.S. Department of Education (USED) "at such time and containing such information as the USED may reasonably require in the future". Reporting shall include financial reporting and evidence of all expenditures with ESSER funds. Additional reporting may include methodology of equitable services and demonstration or evidence that services were provided by LEAs; use of funds to address the digital divide; and funds used to support remote learning for all students, including disadvantaged populations.
USED may request additional reporting, such as but not limited to a detailed list of all projects and activities supported with ESSER Funds including name, description, estimated number of jobs created or retained, and detailed information on subcontracts and subgrantees.
LEAs will utilize eFinance to report financial expenditures. LEAs will be responsible for supporting evidence and documentation of expenditures for reporting and audit purposes.
At the end of the fiscal year, the LEA will also upload the expenditure ledger for ESSER funds into Indistar.
DESE is required to monitor LEA expenditures of ESSER funds.
DESE has established four focus areas for funding LEAs. LEAs may select all that apply:
LEAs (districts and charter schools) that receive Title I funds. Please see the USED guidance on how to calculate ESSER funds at https://oese.ed.gov/files/2020/05/ESSER-Fund-Frequently-Asked-Questions.pdf.
Allocations will be posted on the DESE website at http://dese.ade.arkansas.gov/divisions/fiscal-and-administrative-services/lea-federal-funding/allocations.
LEAs must obligate ESSER funds by September 30, 2022.
Expenditures must be reasonable, necessary and allocable under section 18003(d) of Division B of the CARES Act. Funds should be used to address the impact that COVID-19 has had, and continues to have on elementary and secondary public and participating non-public schools. Funds should address the district's continuity of learning and operations plan (district support plan). Funds should be utilized to prepare for remote learning, returning to onsite learning, and blended learning. Funds should address all teachers and students, including special populations and students most at-risk. CARES Act Section 18003 (d) outlines twelve (12) uses of funds. Those 12 uses of funds are included in the LEA application and assurances. COVID-19 related expenditures coded using the subject code CV that meet these guidelines may be paid from ESSER funds if expended on and after March 13, 2020.
The ESSER funding codes are available here.
Financial records, supporting (primary) documents, and all documentation of reasonable, necessary, and allocable must be retained for four (4) years from the date of submission of the final expenditure report. 2 CFR § 200.333
LEAs are not allowed to use funds to (1) subsidize or offset executive salaries and benefits of individuals who are not employees of the SEA or LEA; or (2) expenditures related to state or local teacher or faculty unions or associations.
Eligible LEAs should complete the application and assurances document and upload into the ESSER folder in Indistar by May 29, 2020. The LEA Assurances and Application for CARES Act – ESSER Fund is available in Word or PDF.
Eligible LEAs should complete Section 427 of GEPA, available in Word, and upload into the ESSER Folder in Indistar by June 30, 2020. Guidance is available at https://www2.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/appforms/gepa427.pdf.
Please send any questions to email@example.com.
Congress set aside approximately $3 billion of the $30.75 billion allotted to the Education Stabilization Fund through the CARES Act for the Governor's Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund. Additional information about the GEER fund is available at https://oese.ed.gov/offices/education-stabilization-fund/governors-emergency-education-relief-fund/.
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