Greetings, school leaders!
It’s hard to believe that the first federal COVID-19 relief package was issued over two years ago! With this first package, known as the CARES Act, the Arizona Department of Education and our public LEAs were granted a portion of the CARES Act money known as ESSER I.
Since then, ADE and our LEAs have found exciting and creative ways to draw down and expend that money! In fact, nearly 97% of ESSER I funds have been expended. Our ESSER team has been proud to support those efforts and is thrilled to see these funds supporting student and educator achievement.
Now, ESSER I funds will expire on September 30, 2022 – just a few short months away. The final Completion Report will become available on October 1st. Funds not drawn down by September 30th or liquidated through the Completion Report will be forfeited and returned to the U.S. Department of Education. ESSER I funds do not carry over into ESSER II, so failing to expend your ESSER I funds means that money for your students and teachers will be left on the table.
As you prepare to draw down and expend the remaining amount of your LEAs ESSER I funds, our ESSER team encourages you to prepare and submit your final Reimbursement Requests, and to prepare for your final Completion Report.
ESSER Late Liquidation Issue
You may have seen media reports regarding the potential for a late liquidation process for ESSER funds grants. These reports are based on a letter from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) in response to questions from AASA. States are currently engaging with ED to learn more and provide feedback regarding any prospective requirements and mechanics for a potential process. A formal process has not been finalized or announced by ED.
In the meantime, the current periods of performance, end dates, and funds availability for ESSER I, II, and III have not changed. LEAs should continue to manage all budgets, contracts, and activities based on the published end dates for each ESSER fund grant:
- ESSER I: September 30, 2022
- ESSER II: September 30, 2023
- ESSER III: September 30, 2024
Given this, it would also be advisable that LEAs should generally already have contracts in place for very large projects to help ensure that contracted work is completed within the date ranges above for each grant, as applicable.
ADE will provide further information and updates regarding this issue as it becomes available. If you have any questions about your ESSER dollars, please contact [email protected].
Upcoming ESSER Set-Aside Opportunities
The following opportunities are funded and supported by the Arizona Department of Education’s ESSER set aside investments:
How to access American Rescue Plan School and Community Grantee Programs
Throughout May, ADE announced the awardees of our American Rescue Plan School and Community Grants. The awardee applications went through the rigorous state procurement process. All funded projects share the goal of supporting schools, students, educators, and families as they recover from the effects of the pandemic. You can view all the awarded organizations here.
If your LEA is already working with one of the organizations, contact them directly to see how or if their awarded project impacts your ongoing work.
If you are interested in contacting an awarded project or organization, please view our ARP School and Community Grantee webpage to find program contact information. Please note that some of the awarded projects are working with pre-selected LEAs.
One of the statewide opportunities available for educators and administrators is free evidence-based professional development through the PAXIS Institute. Through federal relief funding, The Arizona Department of Education is partnering with PAXIS to provide PAX Good Behavior Game training to all Arizona educators at no cost.
Training is offered in both virtual and self-paced online formats and includes materials and certificates for 6 contact hours of professional development!
The PAX Good Behavior Game provides educators with proven and effective strategies to improve SEL outcomes, student behavior, academic outcomes, and teacher wellness.
Contact [email protected] to schedule a training for your staff or individuals may visit www.paxis.org/pax-arizona to sign up for training already on the calendar.