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On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act of 2021. The ARP Act includes nearly $122 billion for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER III) Fund that allows state and local education agencies to take additional steps to safely reopen schools for in-person instruction and keep them open, and to address disruptions to teaching and learning resulting from the pandemic.

The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) was allocated $1.121 billion from the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) to support safe and sustained reopening of schools. The ARP Act directs the Department to award 90% of the ESSER III funds ($1,008,925,861) as grants to Local Education Agencies (LEAs or districts) in the proportion they received funds under Part A of Title I of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in fiscal year 2020. It is important to note that these funds do not follow the Title I-A spending rules. ESSER III Fund grants can be used to reimburse eligible expenses incurred between March 13, 2020 and September 30, 2024. Unlike ESSER I and II, all school districts that receive grants with the 90% funding will be required to reserve no less than 20% of their funding to address unfinished learning activities.

Although the ESSER III uses of funds are similar to those for ESSER I and II, there are important distinctions between ESSER III, ESSER II, and ESSER I programs, including the period of funds availability, equitable services to non-public schools, maintenance of effort and equity, and a report on efforts to measure and address unfinished learning.

News and Updates

State ESSER III Plan Details

State Plan as submitted to the US Department of Education on June 7th, 2021:

State Plan Engagement

The Department is currently developing a state plan that will be submitted to the US Department of Education no later than June 7, 2021. To ensure the state plan reflects the needs of those who have experienced a disproportionate impact of COVID-19, the Department is incorporating input received during the pandemic from families, community groups, teachers, school districts, school leaders, and education partner organizations.

State Plan Timeline

  • March 11, 2021 - American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act was signed into law
  • March 24, 2021 - ODE received two-thirds of the ARP ESSER III Funds
  • April 21, 2021 - ESSER III Application Letter to Chief State School Officers
  • April 30, 2021 - ODE communicated district allocations and Oregon Invests & Envisions Equity in Education Framework to guide district and state investments under the ESSER III allowable uses
  • May 24, 2021 - ODE made LEA allocations of ESSER III available to districts
  • June 7, 2021 - ESSER III State Plan Submitted
  • Unknown - USDOE Approval of State Plan
  • July 22, 2021 - ODE will provide a template for reporting District ESSER III Funding Plans
  • July 22, 2021 - ODE will provide a self-certification from for Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity Plans
  • August 22, 2021 - District ESSER III Funding Plans and Self-Certification Form to assure LEA's plans for Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services due to ODE
  • Ongoing - State and Local engagement with community
  • September 30, 2023 - Last date to obligate ESSER III funds
  • September 30, 2024 - Last date to expend ESSER III funds

ESSER III and Public Charter Schools

The ARP Act does not directly address allocation of district ESSER III funds to district-sponsored public charter schools that are not standalone LEAs. The clear legislative intent, however, is to benefit all public schools and students regardless of school type. ODE asks that districts include their charter schools on equal footing with other district schools, when determining the most important educational needs as a result of COVID-19, consistent with the intent of the ARP Act. LEAs must meaningfully engage all school leaders, including charter school leaders, in determining their plans for using ESSER III funds. Districts that sponsor public charter schools may also plan to pass through a proportionate share of the ESSER III funds. Public charter schools that receive ESSER III funds must comply with the same allowable uses and 20% fund designation requirements as districts.

District ESSER III Plan Details

Districts and the Oregon School for the Deaf will submit an ESSER III Funding Plan to ODE by August 23, 2021. To reduce burden on districts, the Department is working to leverage existing programs such as the Student Investment Account, Statewide Education Initiative Account, and federal programs to meet the requirements of the ARP ESSER III funds. Information about the District ESSER III Funding Plan Template will be available soon.

District Plans Timeline

  • March 13, 2020 - The first day Districts may encumber allowable ESSER III expenditures (same date allowed for ESSER I and ESSER II expenditures)
  • May 24, 2021 - ODE made LEA allocations of ESSER III funds available to districts
  • June 24, 2021 - District ESSER III Blueprints posted on website
  • August 23, 2021 - District ESSER III Funding Plans and Self-Certification Form to assure district plans for Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services are due to ODE
  • Ongoing - District plans will be updated and reviewed at least every six months
  • Ongoing - District engagement with community
  • September 30, 2024 - Last day to expend ESSER III funds

District Plans


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