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Federal COVID Funding for Schools: What Educators Need to Know

Purpose of Funds
The federal funds for states and local school districts are intended to address disruptions in learning caused by the pandemic and keep students and staff safe in school. Educators and union leaders should educate themselves on the basics of ESSER funds, stay abreast of changes and engage in local conversations with administration about fund allocations.

How Much Is My District Getting?

ESSER I Grants by District (CARES)

ESSER II Grants by District

ESSER III Preliminary LEA Amounts

ESSER III Timeline
In late May 2021, it is expected that the DPI will inform school districts of the requirements for the American Rescue Plan funds (ESSER III).  

  • June to August – Approval of DPI plan by state and submission to U.S. Department of Education
  • August/September – U.S. Department of Education approval
  • November to December – DPI develops grants for districts to access funds
  • December 2021 – April 2022 – Districts access funds

All federal funding from ESSER I, II and III must be expended by October 2024.

What Ways Educators Are Advocating the Funding Be Used?

  • Provide additional compensation to teachers and ESPs that have assumed new duties because of COVID-19
  • Incentivize educators working with students disproportionately impacted by the pandemic
  • Address recruitment or retention challenges resulting from the pandemic
  • HVAC updates, filters and the assurance other health safety measures such as handwashing stations, masks, sanitizer, ample bathroom supplies
  • Lower class sizes
  • Additions and improvements in outdoor learning spaces
  • Increase social work, counseling and nursing staff
  • Anti-Racist curriculum development
  • Enrichment summer school and after school tutoring
  • Employer provided resources for teachers (phones, internet reimbursement, subscriptions to education technology resources, etc.)

Guides and Checklists for Educators

ARP Funding Guide This updated version provides overview of fund uses, synopsis of U.S. Department of Education guidance, and fund use examples and recommendations.

ARP Funding Checklist Offers a quick snapshot of funding uses.

ARP Bargaining and Advocacy Guidance Supports local affiliates in contract negotiations, leveraging ARP funds.


NEA ESSER III Funding Resource Guide