CARES Act Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund Allocations

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Oregon Department of Education - Oregon achieves - together

CARES Act Elementary and Secondary School

Emergency Relief (ESSER)

Fund Allocations 

Good afternoon school district superintendents and business managers,

Good news! The CARES Act ESSER Allocations for school districts have been posted on the CARES Act resources page.

These school district allocations represent $109.9 million of the $121.1 million ESSER grant. Additional information will be sent once the $11.2 million balance of the grant has been allocated.


The ESSER Fund was created to provide relief to Local Education Agencies (LEAs) as they prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19.


Future training opportunities will be provided in OASBO webinars, memos on this listserv, and updated documents available on the CARES Act resources page.

Background and Guidance

In March 2020, Governor Brown declared a state of emergency due to the public health threat posed by COVID-19. Governor Brown followed the declaration with the suspension of in-person instructional activities in all of Oregon public and private schools starting March 16, 2020 until the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. Despite the suspension of in-person activities, every school must continue to guarantee equitable access to learning, and ensure continuity of high-quality education for every student while promoting their health, safety, and well-being. Additional information regarding the Governor’s direction for Oregon schools is available on the Governor’s Executive Orders website as well as on the Oregon Department of Education CARES Act Resources website.

Simultaneously, the Federal government recognized the need for financial assistance to States during this crisis. On March 27, 2020, the 116th U.S. Congress passed H.R. 748, The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to address America’s needs as we confront COVID-19. Title VIII of the CARES Act created the Education Stabilization Fund, and under that, the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER Fund). Section 18003 of the CARES Act provides direction for the ESSER Fund.

Section 18003 of the CARES Act requires State Educational Agencies to submit an application before their states are eligible to receive formula allocated funding from the ESSER Fund. As directed in the CARES Act, the ESSER Fund program was released on April 22, 2020 for state applications and Oregon Department of Education (ODE) as the State Education Agency (SEA) submitted an application for its portion of the ESSER Fund on May 26, 2020. ODE was awarded its share of the ESSER Fund on May 28, 2020. In the SEA application, the US Department of Education is requiring LEA applications to support accountability of these funds.

Eligible LEAs may use ESSER Funds for any purposes listed Exhibit C, and found in Section 18003(d) of the CARES Act, while providing equitable services to students and teachers in non-public schools as required by the CARES Act in Section 18005. In its application, the LEA must provide a description of how it proposes to enable students, teachers, and other program recipients to overcome barriers (including barriers based on gender, race, color, national origin, disability, and age) that prevent equal access to, or participation in, the program (Section 427 of GEPA 20 U.S.C. 1228a).

ODE will award and manage the cost reimbursable grants to the LEAs via its Electronic Grant Management System (EGMS).

Only expenditures made during the grant Performance Period will be reimbursed: March 13, 2020 – September 30, 2022.


LEA applications are available on the webpage.

If you have questions that aren’t already addressed in this memo, or existing guidance available on the ESSER website, please don’t hesitate to contact me.


Thank you,



Michael Wiltfong
School Finance and School Facilities, Director
Office of Finance and Information Technology
P: 503-947-5914