Department of Education Issues ESSER Extensions for K-12 Schools

Supply chain, hiring issues provide challenges to states, school districts for spending funds.   March 31, 2023

By Dave Lubach, Managing Editor

The U.S. Department of Education granted seven states and the District of Columbia additional time to spend down Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds from the first round of COVID-19 funding. 

The money, which goes directly to school districts, will allow certain districts to spend their ESSER funds through early 2024, or 14 months beyond the original deadline, according to a report on the K-12 Dive website

Extensions were granted due to challenges the school districts are facing such as staff shortages, supply chain disruptions and reallocating funds reserved for nonpublic schools. Funding requests for projects have centered around purchases involving cleaning supplies, technology infrastructure and HVAC equipment. 

ESSER I, which was part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), provided $13.2 billion for pre-K-12 schools. School districts and the states were mandated under CARES to obligate or budget the funds by Sept. 30 and liquidate or spend the money in 120 days, or by Jan. 28 of this year. 

The deadline has now been moved to March 30, 2024. States that were granted extensions in addition to Washington D.C. were Illinois, Indiana, North Carolina, Mississippi, Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin. 

The article explains that districts are facing issues focused on rising costs due to inflation, citing that products are, “coming in at a much higher cost than they expected even a year and a half ago,” says Sara Pudelski, advocacy director for the School Superintendents Association.  

ESSER II and ESSER III funds have pumped $176 billion more into schools for projects. 

Extensions were also granted to five states for Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER) spending – Indiana, Missouri, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.  

Dave Lubach is managing editor of the facilities market.  


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