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Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Education Relief Fund II (ESSER II)

The total ESSER II allocation for the State of Wisconsin is $686,056,238. 90 percent ($617,450,615) will be distributed to LEAs using the 2020-21 Elementary and Secondary Education Act, Title I, Part A formula calculation as required under CRRSA. LEA allocations are based on the number and percentage of children from low-income families. Although ESSER II award amounts are calculated based on Title I, Part A allocations, they are not Title I, Part A funds. Title I requirements do not apply to ESSER II.

The remaining 10 percent of the state’s ESSER II allocation ($68.6 million) will be directed to LEAs in two ways, based on Wisconsin’s Joint Committee on Finance Motion #16

  1. Funds will be used to ensure every LEA receives a minimum of $100,000 ESSER II allocation. In other words, each LEA in Wisconsin will receive funding based on the Title I formula or $100,000, whichever is greater.
  2. Any LEA that does not reach a $395 per pupil allocation with either the $100,000 minimum allocation or the Title I formula will be eligible for additional funds. There are 175 LEAs eligible for this additional funding. The amount of funding for each of these LEAs will be based on the total number of in-person instructional hours provided during the entirety of the 2020-21 school year. As a result, instructional designs and closures at any time during the school year may impact the calculation. DPI will need to collect information on hours of instruction from eligible LEAs at the conclusion of the school year. DPI will be unable to calculate amounts for eligible LEAs until the data collection is complete, which may take until fall.

Allowed Activities and Costs

The United States Department of Education (USDE) encourages LEAs to spend ESSER II funds to take comprehensive action to mitigate learning loss, to restore and maintain high-quality learning environments, and to safely reopen elementary and secondary schools as soon as possible. LEAs should especially consider the needs of its most vulnerable students including low-income students, children with disabilities, English learners, racial and ethnic minorities, students experiencing homelessness, and children and youth in foster care.

Visit the COVID Response and Relief Planning Recommendations webpage for planning supports. 

Fiscal Considerations

ESSER provides LEAs with short-term relief funds to address the effects of COVID-19 on elementary and secondary schools. While it is possible Congress will appropriate additional relief funds in the future, ESSER is not an ongoing program to support long-term expenses. DPI encourages LEAs to spend down ESSER I funds before spending ESSER II funds.

The grant performance period is from March 13, 2020 through September 30, 2023. If LEAs choose to include costs from 2019-20 that were incurred between March 13 and June 30, 2020, those costs will need to be documented after the fact. Costs from July 1, 2020 onward must be coded or re-coded to the ESSER II project.

To avoid unintended IDEA Maintenance of Effort (MOE) consequences, LEAs intending to include special education (Fund 27) costs should take extra care about timely budgets and claims.

ESSER II expenditures are coded with WUFAR project 163. ESSER II claim payment revenues are coded with WUFAR source 730, in the same fund as the original expenditures that were claimed. Although best practice is to align grant expenditures and revenues in the same fiscal year, it is too late to record grant revenues back to June 30, 2020. Discuss with your auditor how ESSER II activities are recorded and considered for compiling your LEA’s Schedule of Expenditures of Federal Awards (SEFA).

ESSER II funds are not subject to a supplement-not-supplant requirement, and use of funds is very flexible. However, ESSER II funds are subject to the Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) and the federal government’s Uniform Grant Guidance (UGG), including the requirement that spending be necessary and reasonable.

Applications

Applications will be available in WISEgrants in April 2021. DPI consultants will review applications in the order they are received. LEAs can claim funds as soon as their applications are approved.

Removing Barriers to Participation

For each program type included in the WISEgrants application, LEAs will need to provide a concise description of steps to be taken to overcome applicable barriers to ensure equitable access for all students within the LEA. The General Education Provisions Act (GEPA), Section 427 highlights six types of barriers: gender, race, national origin, color, disability, and age. For details, visit the GEPA Section 427 page.

Paying Employees and Contractors

Like with ESSER I, LEAs must assure that they are paying employees and contractors to the greatest extent practicable. If an LEA has already completed a Paying Employees and Contractors assurance in WISEgrants, this step does not need to be repeated. For details about this requirement, visit the Paying Employees and Contractors to the Greatest Extent Practicable page.

Reporting

ESSER II funds are subject to the same reporting requirements as ESSER I. In addition, DPI will collect additional information if required by USDE.

Equitable Services to Private Schools

LEAs are not required to provide equitable services with ESSER II as congress created a separate program under CRRSA, the Emergency Assistance for Non-Public Schools program for non-public schools which will be administered by the DPI. For more information, visit DPI’s webpage on EANS.


Reporting Grant Fraud—Federal and State

Reporting fraud, waste or abuse of Federal grant funds: US Department of Education's OIG Hotline