Expand AllClick here for a more accessible version
ARP ESSER funds do not include a supplement, not supplant requirement and are not subject to ranking and serving provisions that define how a subrecipient distributes funds to schools. However, all ARP ESSER expenditures must be in line with all required cost principles of Uniform Grant Guidance (UGG) including being reasonable, necessary, and allocable. In addition, the program does contain a state-level Maintenance of Effort requirement, which is designed to keep states from substantially reducing their support for K-12 education.
Please note that the use of ESSER funds does not override the supplement-not-supplant requirements of other programs. For example, replacing local funds with ESSER funds to support the delivery of special education programs may result in an LEA failing to meet the maintenance of effort (MOE) compliance requirements of IDEA. While LEAs may use ESSER funds to support the delivery of special education, this should only be done to supplement the use of state and local funds already allocated to the program. When planning for the use of ESSER funds, LEAs should consider if similar implications exist related to other federal programs.
While these funds can also be used for maintaining the operation and continuity of LEA services, including to employ existing or hiring new LEA and school staff, it is important to consider how staffing will be impacted when federal funding is no longer available. PDE advises that LEAs only use the funds for this purpose as part of a larger long-term financial plan.
No. The Single Audit requirement applies only to non-federal entities that expend $750,000 or more in federal funds in one fiscal year. However, with the addition of ESSER I and II and ARP ESSER funds to regular grant programs such as Title I-A and IDEA, there are very few LEAs throughout the commonwealth that will not meet this requirement.
Yes. The eGrants application components satisfy the content requirements for the LEA Plan. Once an eGrants application is approved by PDE, the LEA may choose to make the language more family friendly and accessible to diverse audiences prior to posting online.
ARP ESSER requires that LEAs develop, approve, and make public an LEA Plan for the Use of ARP ESSER funds. Based on Pennsylvania's LEA application for ARP ESSER funds, LEAs will be able to satisfy the LEA Plan requirement through the eGrants submission, provided that the submission:
- is tailored to the specific needs faced by students and schools within the LEA;
- reflects the insights of diverse stakeholders, particularly students and those most impacted by the pandemic, as to the most pressing needs and the most effective strategies for teaching, learning, and day-to-day school experiences;
- is made publicly available on the LEA's website;
- is written in a language that parents can understand; and
- is provided in alternate format upon request by a parent who is an individual with a disability.
A subrecipient must reserve not less than 20 percent of its allocation to address learning loss through evidence-based interventions, including summer learning or summer enrichment, extended day, comprehensive afterschool programs, or extended school year programs; such programs must attend to students' academic, social, and emotional needs and address the pandemic's disproportionate impact on historically underserved student groups. Subrecipients are strongly encouraged to consult PDE's Evidence Resource Center—a customized website, designed by Pennsylvania educators and some of the nation's foremost education scholars—in evaluating the efficacy of learning loss initiatives.
The remaining 80 percent of a subrecipient's allocation can be used for a broad array of programs and providing professional training; extending the school day or year; making technology purchases; providing mental health supports; and undertaking priority school facility repairs and improvements. While these funds can also be used for maintaining the operation and continuity of LEA services, including to employ existing or hiring new LEA and school staff, it is important to consider how staffing will be impacted when federal funding is no longer available. PDE advises that LEAs only use the funds for this purpose as part of a larger long-term financial plan.
For a full list of allowable expenditures as well as clarifications, see Section 2001(e) of the ARP, the U.S. Education Department FAQs, and the ARP ESSER Guidebook section titled "Allowable Uses under ARP ESSER."
For a comparison of allowable expenditures across ESSER I, ESSER II, and ARP ESSER, access the U.S. Department of Education's ARP ESSER Fact Sheet.
On March 26, 2021, Pennsylvania received a waiver from the U.S. Department of Education, pausing federal school accountability determinations until Fall 2022. As a result, schools currently designated for comprehensive (CSI), targeted (TSI), and additional targeted support and improvement (A-TSI) will: (1) maintain these designations through the 2021-22 school year; and (2) continue to receive appropriate supports and interventions.
To implement Pennsylvania's waiver, PDE will require subrecipients with one or more CSI or A-TSI schools to verify, via the ARP ESSER application, consultation of the Evidence Resource Center in developing local plans and to provide a justification when an intervention that is not supported by tier 1, 2, 3, or 4 evidence is selected.
Recipients will be required to report on program implementation on a quarterly basis, with a final report due at the close of the ARP ESSER grant period. Quarterly and final program reporting will take place via eGrants and the Future Ready Comprehensive Planning Portal (FRCPP). Additionally, recipients will complete regular quarterly fiscal reporting to continue monthly payments through Financial Accounting Information (FAI) system.
Although reporting for ESSER I, ESSER II, and ARP ESSER funds will look similar, ESSER I, ESSER II, and ARP ESSER are different grant awards. As such, ARP ESSER funds must be tracked and reported separately from ESSER I and ESSER II funds.
For more information, please see the section on "Investing with Transparency and Accountability" in the ARP ESSER Guidebook.
No. Like ESSER II, the ARP Act (section 2002) includes a separate program to provide emergency aid to nonpublic schools.
Yes. As recipients of ARP ESSER funding, school districts, charter schools, and PDE are required by statute to engage in meaningful consultation with stakeholders. LEAs are specifically required to engage with stakeholders in the development of the LEA Plan for the Use of ARP ESSER Funds and the revisions to the LEA Health and Safety Plan. Under ARP requirements, stakeholders include, but are not limited to, students, families, school and district administrators (including special education administrators), teachers, principals, school leaders, other educators, school staff, and their unions. In addition, the LEA must engage in meaningful consultation with each of the following to the extent present in or served by the LEA: tribes; civil rights organizations (including disability rights organizations); and stakeholders representing the interests of children with disabilities, English learners, children experiencing homelessness, children and youth in foster care, migratory students, children who are incarcerated, and other underserved students.
For additional information, please see the ARP ESSER Guidebook section titled "Consultation with Stakeholders."
The LEA must maintain inventory records, purchase orders, and receipts for equipment (over $5,000) purchased, all computing devices, and special purpose equipment ($300 - $4,999), and will conduct a physical inventory every two years. Additionally, equipment and computing devices must be tagged with an appropriate label that identifies the funding source – i.e., ESSER I, II, or ARP ESSER.
For contracts over $25,000, you must verify that the entity with whom you intend to do business is not excluded or disqualified. This must be done by either: (a) checking the federal System for Award Management (SAM); (b) collecting a certification from that person, or (c) adding a clause or condition to the covered transaction with that person/entity.
LEAs may utilize an unrestricted indirect cost rate when calculating indirect costs under ARP ESSER.
The Maintenance of Equity provision for LEAs is a new requirement under ARP ESSER. Under Maintenance of Equity, per-pupil funding from state and local sources and staffing levels for high poverty schools may not be decreased by an amount that exceeds LEA-wide reductions in per-pupil funding and staffing levels for all schools served by the LEA. High poverty schools are the 25 percent of schools serving the highest percent of economically disadvantaged students in the LEA.
An LEA is exempt from the Maintenance of Equity requirement if the LEA has fewer than 1,000 students, operates a single school, serves all students in each grade span in a single school, or demonstrates an exceptional or uncontrollable circumstance.
Maintenance of Equity is calculated as follows:
- Per Pupil Funding from combined State and local funding = Total LEA funding from combined State and local funding for all schools served by the LEA in the given fiscal year divided by the number of children enrolled in all schools served by the LEA in the given fiscal year.
- Full time equivalent staff = Total full-time equivalent staff in all schools served by the LEA in the given fiscal year divided by the number of children enrolled in all schools served by the LEA in the given fiscal year.
For additional information, please see the ARP ESSER Guidebook section titled, "LEA Maintenance of Equity Provision." PDE will provide updates as additional information becomes available from the U.S. Education Department.
While an updated Chart of Accounts for the 2021-22 FY will be available soon, the information below is an excerpt from the 2020-21 FY Chart of Accounts.
8740 CARES ACT, CRRSA ACT, and ARP ACT FUNDING (Revenues are not recorded to this account but to the following sub-accounts)
- 8741 ESSER - Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund Emergency relief funds authorized by the CARES Act to address the impact that Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has had, and continues to have, on elementary and secondary schools across the nation. Note – The second round of PCCD (winter) grants are being funded with ESSER and should be coded here. Funding source 986.
- 8742 Governor's Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER) Emergency relief funds authorized by the CARES Act disbursed under the direction of State governors to address the impact of COVID-19. Examples include GEER Continuity of Education Grants, GEER funded Special Education Impact Mitigation Grants, and GEER postsecondary and adult education grants. Note - Some SECIM grants are being funded with IDEA rather than GEER funds which should be coded to 8512. FAI will list the applicable revenue code for each LEA payment. Funding source 988.
- 8743 ESSER II - Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund Emergency relief funds authorized by the CRRSA Act to address the impact that Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has had, and continues to have, on elementary and secondary schools across the nation. Funding source 989.
- 8744 ARP ESSER (ESSER III) - Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund Emergency relief funds authorized by the ARP Act to address the impact that Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has had, and continues to have, on elementary and secondary schools across the nation. Funding source 990.
- 8745 GEER II - Governor's Emergency Education Relief Fund Emergency relief funds authorized by the CRRSA Act disbursed under the direction of State governors to address the impact of COVID-19. Also include here funding for GEER II Emergency Assistance for Nonpublic Schools (EANS). Funding source 991.
- 8749 Other CARES Act and CRRSA Act Funding CARES Act and CRRSA Act funding other than ESSER, ESSER II, and GEER. Examples include Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF), Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), HSSAP, Pre-K Counts Cares, and Covid-19 funded Safety and Security grants disbursed by PCCD other than those funded with ESSER. Funding source 987.