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​July 23, 2021

Dear Colleague,

To assist with planning for the use of federal ESSER and GEER funds, I write to you today to describe the process through which your local education agency (LEA) must obtain prior approval for certain expenditures from the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE).

Under federal Uniform Guidance, at 2 CFR § 200.407, an LEA must seek prior approval from PDE when using federal ESSER or GEER funds for certain expenditures including construction and renovation, equipment, and other capital expenditures.

An LEA seeking prior approval for a relevant expenditure must provide PDE with information about the expenditure as well as assurances that the LEA is adhering to all applicable federal requirements.

For LEAs planning to use ARP ESSER funds for an expenditure that requires prior approval under Uniform Guidance, approval can be obtained through completion of a form(s) as part of your ARP ESSER application in eGrants. Please review the ARP ESSER Prior Approval Process Tech Guide for additional guidance.

For LEAs planning to use ESSER I, ESSER II, or GEER funds for an expenditure that requires prior approval under Uniform Guidance, approval can be obtained by uploading the prior approval form and submitting the completed form(s) to PDE for review. Access the ESSER I Prior Approval Form, the ESSER II Prior Approval Form, and the GEER Prior Approval Form on PDE's website.

Please review the Prior Approval Answers to FAQs for assistance with determining if prior approval by PDE is necessary for any ESSER or GEER expenditure and to better understand how to obtain prior approval for expenditures in a grant application already approved by PDE.

Please email your regional coordinator in the PDE Division of Federal Programs for additional support or assistance.

Thank for your continued leadership and commitment to serving and support your school community.

-Sherri