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ESSER/GEER Extra, Volume 1

As you continue planning for the use of your federal American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds, PDE is launching ESSER/GEER Extra, a frequent communication that will provide you with reminders, resources, information, and guidance as you develop plans, implement, and monitor your ESSER and Governor's Emergency Education Relief (GEER) funds.

In our inaugural edition of ESSER/GEER Extra, we are pleased to highlight the information below:

USDE Approves PA ARP ESSER State Plan
USDE has announced the approval of Pennsylvania's ARP ESSER State Plan. The State Plan outlines Pennsylvania's current education needs and priorities, the intended uses of the ARP ESSER funds, and the plans for supporting school entities in their planning for and use of ARP ESSER funds. Approval of the state plan means that USDE has released the remaining $1.6 billion of Pennsylvania's $5 billion total ARP ESSER allocation. Access the USDE press release. 

ARP ESSER Set-Aside Funds
The ARP Act allocated 90% of Pennsylvania's allocations directly to school districts and charter schools. The remaining 10% of the total state allocation was determined by the General Assembly and Governor Wolf through Act 24 of 2021. In addition to $14 million reserved for PDE to administer and implement ARP ESSER, about $485 million was allocated to LEAs in four separate set-asides: learning loss, summer enrichment, afterschool programs, and support for other LEAs. Watch a quick video to learn more about each ARP ESSER set-aside (YouTube) and access the associated slides from the video that describe the ARP ESSER set-aside funds (PDF).

2.5% ARP ESSER Set-Aside Fund Allocations
Act 24 of 2021 appropriated $135 million in ARP ESSER State Reserve funds for Intermediate Units (IUs), Career and Technical Education Centers (CTCs), PRRIs (Private Residential Rehabilitative Institutes), APSs (Approved Private Schools), schools designated for Additional Targeted Support and Improvement (A-TSI), chartered schools for the deaf and blind, and entities providing services for youth in local correctional institutions and community day programs. Access the allocations for each individual entity as codified in Act 24.

Applications for these funds will open in the eGrants system in the coming weeks; please watch for notification from PDE's Division of Federal Programs.

School entities planning to receive part of the 2.5% ARP ESSER State Reserve and that have not previously filed a Health and Safety Plan with PDE must: 1) develop such a plan, 2) secure approval of the plan from its governing body, and 3) post the approved plan on its publicly available website by August 30, 2021, or prior to the start of the school year—whichever is earlier. In addition, a copy of the Plan must be uploaded into the school entity's eGrant application, along with a link to the webpage where it is posted. Plan requirements, resources, and a sample template to guide schools with adjusting existing Health and Safety Plans is accessible on PDE's website.

REMINDER: ESSER/GEER Prior Approval Form
As a reminder, if your LEA is using federal ESSER or GEER funds for certain expenditures, such as construction, renovation, other capital expenditures, and/or equipment that exceeds $5,000, Uniform Guidance (2 CFR 200.407) requires you to seek prior approval from PDE. Access answers to frequently asked questions about obtaining prior approval for relevant expenditures and access the forms/application and technical guides via the links below:

REMINDER: Using the Right Account Codes
With ESSER I, ESSER II, ARP ESSER, GEER I, and GEER II funding available to LEAs, getting the federal revenue codes and funding source codes right is important. Access answers to frequently asked questions to ensure your LEA is using the right account codes

Contact Your Regional Coordinator
As your LEA prepares your ARP ESSER application(s), do not hesitate to contact your regional coordinator in the PDE Division of Federal Programs for additional support or guidance.

Topics for Future ESSER/GEER Extras
Do you have topics you would like to have covered in future editions of ESSER/GEER Extra? If so, please email your ideas to Additionally, if your LEA has implemented, expanded, or improved a program or supports using ESSER or GEER funding (or plans to do so), please let us know. We want to highlight and share innovative, creative, and successful uses of federal COVID-relief funds to assist all LEAs in their planning and implementation. Thank you in advance!