Local educational agencies (LEAs) expecting to receive Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) III funds have a number of requirements to fulfill as a condition of receiving the substantial federal one-time resources. As detailed in our previous article (see “ESSER III Assurances and Plan Template Available,” in the June 2021 Fiscal Report), LEAs must complete assurances, fulfill the requirement for a Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan, and adopt an ESSER III Expenditure Plan.
The ESSER III Expenditure Plan template and instructions are available on the California Department of Education (CDE) website. Pursuant to federal law, the Expenditure Plan must detail how the LEA will use ESSER III funds to address students’ academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs, as well as opportunity gaps that were exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. In developing the plan, LEAs must consult with specified stakeholders, and must provide for public input that is considered.
The ESSER III Expenditure Plan must be adopted by the LEA’s local governing board at a public meeting by October 29, 2021, and submitted for review and approval within five days of adoption. The State Board of Education and the California Department of Education (CDE) delayed the original deadline for plan adoption from September 30 after consulting with the U.S. Department of Education. School districts must submit their adopted plans to the county office of education (COE), and COEs must submit their plans to CDE. Charter schools must submit their plans to both the chartering authority for review and to the COE in which they operate for review and approval.
LEAs looking for additional resources to help with completion of the Expenditure Plan can refer to a webinar that CDE recently provided.
Finally, LEAs should anticipate further reporting on the use of ESSER III funds. Assembly Bill 130 includes a requirement for a one-time supplement to the 2021–22 Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP). In the supplement, LEAs will be required to include an update on the implementation of the ESSER III Expenditure Plan, including successes and challenges. A template for the LCAP supplement will be available by November 30, 2021, and LEAs must present the LCAP supplement to their local governing boards by February 28, 2022.