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ESSER Information

What is ESSER?

ESSER stands for Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund. ESSER is comprised of three Congressional Acts to address the impact of COVID-19 on elementary and secondary schools.

  • Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) - March 2020
     
    • ESSER I was established as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.  ESSER I provided direct funding to states and school districts to address the impact COVID-19 has had, and continues to have, on elementary and secondary schools across the nation.
       
  • Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental (CRRSA) - December 2020
     
    • ESSER II was created through enactment of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA).  As with ESSER I, the core purpose of the ESSER II Fund is to provide funds to states and districts to address the areas most impacted by the disruption and closure of schools caused by COVID-19.
       
  • American Rescue Plan (ARP) - March 2021
     
    • The American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) Fund was enacted.  ARP ESSER (ESSER III) provides direct aid to states and districts to help safely reopen and sustain the safe operation of schools and address the impact of COVID-19 on schools. ESSER III requires each public school unit to use at least 20% of their allotment for addressing learning loss.

 

ESSER Allowable Uses

The allowable uses for ESSER funds include but are not limited to:

  • To respond to the social, emotional, mental health, and academic needs of students that have resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Preventing, responding to, and recovering from COVID-19
  • Reopening schools safely
  • Physical health and safety of students and staff
  • Social and emotional health and safety of students and staff
  • Provide accelerated learning opportunities
  • Provide summer learning and enrichment opportunities
  • Address lost instruction time due to COVID-19
  • School facility repairs and improvements to reduce virus transmission and environmental health hazards
  • Support and maintain high quality staff
  • Educational technology to support in-person, hybrid, and virtual learning

 

Funding Allocations and Process

ESSER Funds are provided to districts as reimbursement grants. Funds are allocated to districts by the Louisiana Department of Education based on guidelines set forth by the Acts and the United States Department of Education. Districts are required to submit budgets to the state for review to make sure that funds will be used in accordance with the ESSER Acts. As funds are expended, districts file quarterly reimbursement requests along with all required documentaion with the state.

Ouachita Parish Schools allocations are as follows:

  • ESSER I - $6,806.263.00
  • ESSER II - $20,228,140.00
  • ESSER III - $45,429,530.00

The chart below is a focus area overview of our current budgets for ESSER II and ESSER III. You may click the image to view a larger version.

ESSER II & III Focus Area Budget Chart

The ESSER Funds are “Living Grants”. Districts can amend their budget proposals periodically during the grant period if funds need to be reallocated. Each ESSER Fund has a different ending date where all funds must be spent and reimbursed.

The ESSER end dates are as follows:

  • ESSER I ends September 2022
  • ESSER II ends September 2023
  • ESSER III ends September 2024

As part of the ESSER process, the Louisiana Department of Education requires districts to create a written plan documenting how these funds will be used in support of the items set forth in the state plan. Our current plan is available at the following link: 2021-2022 OPSB Academic Recovery and Acceleration Plan.

Ouachita Parish Schools intends to reevaluate our ESSER budgets and spending periodically (every 6-12 months) and amend our budgets as needed. Ouachita Parish Schools has utilized parent surveys, teacher focus groups, principal surveys, and focus area groups to help create our budget and plan. We may request additional input from these groups during these amendment periods.

We will be sending out a new Parent/Community Survey in the near future.