Burbio School Tracker 9/21:  District ESSER III Extensions

Recent news on ESSER III extensions for districts has important implications for K-12

The Department of Education recently announced updates regarding ESSER III spending.  States and districts can now apply for 14-month extensions to spend funds.  

1) Here are some relevant links:

From the article:  "If approved, states and districts would have the flexibility of spending ARP funds 14 months beyond the Jan. 28, 2025, deadline or until late March 2026."

From the letter:  "The Department has the authority to approve liquidation extension requests for properly obligated funds upon review of a written request made by a grantee on its own behalf or on behalf of its subgrantees. Final approval of a grantee’s written request will be based upon the specific facts and circumstances, in accordance with 2 CFR § 200.344(b). If approved under this process, grantees and subgrantees may have an extension to the liquidation period of up to 14 months beyond the 120 days already available to liquidate funds."

2) ESSER III funding is $122 billion, 90% of which is allocated to local districts ("LEAs").  LEAs posted their spending plans publicly, and the amount of spending by districts has been kept up to date periodically at the state level.  Burbio has aggregated detailed spending plans covering over $90 billion in planned spending and tracks "actual" spending nationally for partners. 

It is worth noting the scope of unspent funds eligible for this extension.  We can evaluate this by looking at recent state disclosures.  For the chart below, we combined thirteen states that reported for each of the last four quarters.  As of June 30th districts had spent less than half their ESSER III funds:

ESSER III distributed $110 billion to LEAs across the U.S.  Projecting the figures above, another quarter based on the 8% per quarter pace would result in 53.5% of ESSER III being spent by September 30th, leaving roughly 46.5%, or just over $50 billion, still unspent.  For perspective, Title I grants to LEAs in 2023 totalled $18.4 billion meaning the amount of funding eligible for extension is outsized compared to other funding sources. 


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