May 13, 2020
Department of Education (USDE) has approved Pennsylvania’s application to
receive its share of the Elementary and Secondary School
Emergency Relief Fund
(ESSER Fund) authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic
Security Act (CARES
today, Wednesday, May 13, school districts and charter schools may begin
applying for ESSER funds via eGrants. The process will involve a streamlined
application and prompt action by PDE to move complete applications through the
federally required approval process. Additional resources will soon be
available on PDE’s CARES
As with all
federal funds, payments will be disbursed on a monthly schedule; however, because ESSER is retroactive
to March 13, the initial payment may be larger and reflect monthly allocations
between March 13 and the date of your application approval. PDE estimates that
school districts and charter schools will begin to receive funds in June.
for local use, remember that CARES Act funding is one-time, emergency aid. Accordingly,
consider how this funding interacts with your other federal funding, and the
role of enhanced funding flexibilities, to ensure strategic and sustainable
use. And while the pandemic has had tremendous consequences for all
Pennsylvanians, I urge you to keep equity in the forefront of your planning by
prioritizing investments for vulnerable students and families, including those
living in the deepest poverty, students with disabilities, English learners, migrant
students, students experiencing homelessness, and children in foster care.
these funds represent a critical resource for schools to respond to challenges
triggered by COVID-19, they represent only a fraction of the resources provided
by the federal government in response to the Great Recession over a decade ago.
I encourage you to join me in calling on our Congressional delegation to take
additional action and approve further investment in education recovery. As
leaders in your communities with firsthand experience in leading through this
crisis, your perspective is invaluable.
Thank you for
all you continue to do to serve our students and communities through these