LANSING, MICH. – Michigan has been approved by the U.S. Department of Education (USED) for nearly $390 million in federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds, the Michigan Department of Education announced.
The $13.2 billion ESSER fund provides emergency relief funds to address the impact that the COVID-19 public health crisis has had, and continues to have, on elementary and secondary schools across the United States. ESSER funding was included as part of the $2 trillion federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
“These are vitally important resources to help our schools reduce the strain caused by this global pandemic,” said State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice. “Schools can use the funds to meet a variety of current education needs, but must recognize that these funds are one-time revenues.”
The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) will award 90 percent of the $389,796,984 in emergency relief funds to eligible local school districts based on the 2019-20 Title I, Part A funding formula, as required by the CARES Act.
ESSER funds are a one-time appropriation and will not be ongoing funding for school districts, Rice said, strongly recommending that districts reflect carefully about the best uses of these funds, particularly given their technological needs and efforts to preserve their staffing and services to children in a challenging financial environment.
To receive funds, districts will submit an online application that includes a brief narrative of their most important educational needs; information on how they will provide equitable access to students, teachers, parents, and families; and a budget that outlines their intended use of allocated funds. School districts are encouraged to begin planning to meet these application requirements. There will be additional reporting requirements associated with this grant program, many of which are yet to be defined by USED.
According to the guidance handed down from USED, local school districts may use ESSER funds for activities that align with the following:
Section 18003 of Division B of the CARES Act provides MDE the opportunity to reserve up to 10 percent of the state ESSER fund award to support allowable activities.
MDE will use the allowable reserve to establish an educational equity fund. These dollars will be allocated to eligible local school districts, with the primary purpose of reducing the digital divide across Michigan’s school communities. Additional information, including application guidelines and eligibility criteria, will be available in the coming weeks.
Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.