Secretary Betsy Devos announced this week that state and local education agencies were to receive allocated funds from the CARES Act to support continued learning for K-12 students whose educations have been disrupted by the coronavirus. Louisiana in total is expected to receive $286,980,175.
Education leaders will have the flexibility to use funds from the Elementary and Secondary School Education Relief Fund (ESSER Fund) for immediate needs, such as tools and resources for distance education, ensuring student health and safety, and developing and implementing plans for the next school year.
“Our children will become America’s next leaders, so it’s important that we continue to invest in their education during this outbreak. This funding will give Louisiana students the resources to succeed even under challenges they’ve never walked through before,” said Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
This funding is part of $13.2 billion allocated to the Education Department through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. It will help promote distance education, prepare for next school year and ensure student health and safety.
“This national emergency continues to shine a light on the need for all schools to be more agile,” said Secretary DeVos. “Now is the time to truly rethink education and to get creative about how we meet each student’s unique needs. The funding made available today has very few bureaucratic strings attached and empowers local education leaders to do just that. I encourage them to focus on investing in the technology, distance learning resources, training and long-term planning that will help education continue for both teachers and students, no matter where learning takes place.”
Local leaders are empowered with the flexibility to determine how to use their ESSER funds, as long as they are used in ways that comply with applicable federal education laws. The ESSER Fund has important safeguards in place to ensure that this funding goes to help students continue learning. State education agencies (SEAs) must allocate 90 percent of their ESSER funds to local education agencies (LEAs), including public charter schools, in proportion to the amount of FY 2019 funds the LEA received under Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Up to 10% of the SEA’s award may be retained for the state agency to use to address needs related to responding to coronavirus. After one year, SEAs must return any funds that have not been awarded, and the Secretary will reallocate those funds to the states.