CARES Act Funding Information

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, passed on March 27, provides over $2 trillion in federal economic relief to protect the American people from the public health and economic impacts of COVID-19. The CARES Act provides assistance for American workers, families, and small businesses, and preserves jobs for American industries. 

This CARES funding includes an Education Stabilization Fund, which in turn contains two major sources of funding for schools: the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund and the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund. It also contains section 5001, the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF), which establishes $150 billion in payments to state, local, and Tribal governments navigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Select a fund below to learn more.

7/18/20 UPDATE: Application materials and budget worksheets are now available in SERVS Financial. See details in each of the sections below. Please do not use previously downloaded versions of the budget worksheets.

GEER and ESSER Application and Budget Steps

GEER/ESSER allocations for districts and charter schools
 
GEER and ESSER: Making Sense of It All
 
Creating a GEER or ESSER Budget in SERVS
 

Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF)

Coronavirus Relief Funds are a part of the CARES Act. Fund were given to state, local and Tribal governments to address and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Of the $150 billion available, Minnesota received about 2.2 billion.

Minnesota created cross-agency workgroups to address statewide needs and propose funding for those needs. MDE received $244.8 million to support schools getting children back to school in the fall while prioritizing the safety of students and staff. These funds support:

    a)  Operational costs such as cleaning supplies and disinfectant sprayers, screening supplies, PPE, and increased transportation costs associated with transporting student in a socially distant manner.
 
    b)  Student, Family, and Educator needs such as technology devices and internet access, technology training, tutors or mentors to address learning loss, translation services, school-age care for essential workers, and professional development focused on learning models.

A few key facts in the use of these funds:

  1. These funds are available for use from July 1, 2020, through December 30, 2020.
  2. Applications must be submitted in SERVS on or before October 1, 2020. Funds from schools who have not submitted an application prior to the deadline will be re-allocated to other schools based on number of historically underserved students served in their schools or districts.
  3. Funds must be drawn from SERVS on or before December 30, 2020; not merely encumbered, but drawn.
  4. Funds were allocated to operational costs (60%) and Student, Family, and Educator needs (40%) both on ADM and in historically underserved populations in schools and districts. Although allocated in this manner, they may be spent in any amount in either category.
  5. To spend funds from this source, an expenditure must be a reasonably necessary expense that is directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the expenditure must not be one that was planned for in the current school year budget.

 

Governor's Emergency Education Relief fund (GEER)

Based on feedback from a range of communities across the state, the Office of the Governor and the Minnesota Department of Education have identified two key priorities for which these funds can be used:

  • Expanding technology capacity to meet student learning needs, with particular attention to increasing broadband access, establishing wireless hotspots and purchasing devices such as laptops or tablets for students.
  • Improving student-to-teacher ratios for summer school programming to at most six students per teacher.

Application materials for this program can be found in the SERVS Financial system. Please use the application document, budget worksheet, and (if applicable) nonpublic participation summary, available in the Grant Management section of that system. The application addresses the entire life cycle of the grant, so applications should first be submitted for Fiscal Year 2020, not Fiscal Year 2021, regardless of when expenditures are planned.

  • Application: Governor's Emergency Education Relief Fund  - 6/17/20
  • 6/8/20

Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief fund (ESSER)

ESSER funds are divided into two streams: a formula-based allocation and state-directed grants. Districts and charter schools will be notified of their eligibility for one or both funding streams. To receive funds, applicants must complete the appropriate application and budget worksheet, then upload those documents in SERVS when the system is ready to process them.

Application materials for this program can be found in the SERVS Financial system. Please use the application document, budget worksheet, and (if applicable) nonpublic participation summary, available in the Grant Management section of that system. The application addresses the entire life cycle of the grant, so applications should first be submitted for Fiscal Year 2020, not Fiscal Year 2021, regardless of when expenditures are planned.

The formula-based allocation to districts and charter schools is based on their allocations under Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). These funds can be used for a wide range of expenses to meet local needs.

     Frequently Asked Questions: ESSER 90%

State-directed grants, provided to districts and charter schools that do not receive a formula-based allocation, districts and charter schools that receive less than $10,000 from their formula-based allocation, and districts and charter schools whose share of students from historically underserved populations is less than their share of other ESSER funds, can be used for a combination of:

  • Supplementing GEER funds for summer school programming.
  • Supporting mental health.
  • Meeting the needs of historically underserved populations.    

Frequently Asked Questions: ESSER 9.5% state-directed grant 

Nonpublic Equitable Services

Through the CARES Act, Congress required any local educational agency that receives funds to provide equitable services to students and teachers in nonpublic schools and “in the same manner as provided under section 1117 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965.” (Section 18005(a) of the CARES Act.) However, there has been some confusion around the language and intent of the CARES Act and the guidance provided by the U.S. Department of Education.

The documents below provide guidance and tools for local educational agencies (LEAs) regarding the three options for calculating nonpublic share of funds received from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) and Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. These documents and related tools replace the initial guidance issued by MDE in June 2020.

These options are defined by the U.S. Department of Education through the federal rulemaking process and have the force of law. The federal rule creating these options (through revisions to 34 CFR Part 76) has been legally challenged by other states. The resolution of these legal challenges may alter or remove the options available to LEAs. As such, the Minnesota Department of Education recommends that each LEA be prepared to adjust its calculation to comply with any of the calculation options, including a consideration to hold in reserve funds to accommodate various scenarios.