Supporting the Educator Pipeline: How States and Districts Can Use Federal Recovery Funds Strategically

Learning Policy Institute

July 7, 2021

The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA), enacted in December 2020, and the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), enacted in March 2021, provide states and local educational agencies (LEAs) with $176.3 billion through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER II and ESSER III).

These laws provide great flexibility for both states and LEAs (including districts) in the use of funds. LEA funds can be spent on any educational expense allowed under

- the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA),
- the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA),
- the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, and
- other specific allowable uses (Section 313(c)–(d); Section 2001(d)–(e)).

ARPA requires that 20% of LEA funds and 5% of state funds be allocated to address learning recovery and that states must also set aside 1% of funds each for after-school programming and summer enrichment, while CRRSAA added funding to the Governors’ Emergency Education Relief (GEER) program, targeted to COVID-19 responses including LEA activities authorized under ESSER. States and LEAs have until September 30, 2023, and September 30, 2024, to obligate CRRSAA and ARPA funds, respectively, and at least 120 days after those deadlines to spend the funds. States and districts have the opportunity to use CRRSAA and ARPA funds not only to meet short-term needs but also to make longer-term investments to close opportunity and achievement gaps.