The Department of Education has begun to approve state applications for disbursement of the third round of ESSER funds under the American Rescue Plan (ARP). As Illinois school districts start spending ESSER funds it is important to remember that ESSER funds are subject to the Education Department’s General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) and the Federal Government’s Uniform Grant Guidance (UGG), which regulations may be more restrictive than the procurement requirements under the School Code. School districts should consult their legal counsel regarding the additional procurement obligations associated with spending ESSER funds to ensure compliance with these Federal rules.
Additionally, school districts should keep in mind that, as a condition for receipt of ARP funds, they must develop plans for the safe return to in-person instruction and continuity of services. Districts must seek public input on such reopening plans and take comments received into account in developing those plans. The resulting reopening plan for a district must then be published on the school district website not later than 30 days after receipt of ARP ESSER funds.