U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced yesterday that her agency is ready to start accepting applications from states for the release of more than $13.2 billion in emergency relief funding, known officially as the Elementary and Secondary School Education Relief Fund (ESSER Fund). MSBA has anxiously awaited this guidance since the passage of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act approved by Congress and signed into law by President Trump in late March. The Governor, MDE and other education leaders will have the flexibility to use these funds for things such as distance learning and developing and implementing plans for next year. This funding is meant to support continued learning for K-12 students whose educations have been disrupted by school closures due to COVID-19.
Minnesota’s share of ESSER funding will total $ 140,137,253 million, of which $ 126,123,528 million is to be distributed to school districts and independent charter schools and will be allocated in proportion to Minnesota’s Title I, Part A. MSBA’s preliminary, rough estimates have suggested that districts are likely to receive supplemental funds totaling 75 to 80 percent of their 2019-20 Title I allocation. In addition, nearly $14 million will be left to MDE to distribute and $700,686 is allowed for administration.