CARES Act ESSER Allocations and Applications for ESDs

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CARES Act ESSER Allocations and Applications for ESDs

Good afternoon Education Service District superintendents and business managers,

Good news! The CARES Act ESSER Allocations and Applications for ESDs have been posted here.

These ESD allocations represent $4.1 million of the $121.1 million Elementary Secondary Schools Emergency Relief (ESSER) grant and are derived from the 10% reserve, or set aside portion of the total grant where State Education Agencies have discretion in allocating ESSER resources.


The ESSER Fund ESD allocation was created to provide relief for ESDs and to collaborate with school districts (LEAs) as they work to 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 ESSER website.

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. Section 18003 of the CARES Act provides direction for the ESSER Fund. These funds are to reimburse eligible costs associated with SY2019-20 dating back to March 13, 2020, and are also available and can be used for the 2020-21 school year, as ESDs and LEAs work to re-open schools later this year.

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 ESD applications to support accountability of these funds.

Eligible ESDs may use ESSER Funds for any purposes listed Exhibit C, and found in Section 18003(d) of the CARES Act. In its application, the ESD 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 ESDs via its Electronic Grant Management System (EGMS).

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


ESD applications are available here.

ESD applications are due July 24, 2020, to the point of contact listed in the application at ODE ESSER.

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 us at ODE ESSER.


Thank you,



Michael Wiltfong

School Finance and School Facilities, Director

Office of Finance and Information Technology

P: 503-947-5914