Illinois school districts that have yet to apply for the third round of COVID-19 federal funding still have time to submit their requests. As part of the American Rescue Plan, COVID-19 relief funding was made available to school districts through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund.
A substantial percentage of Illinois districts have yet to apply for ESSER III funds which can provide considerable funding to support school needs while addressing COVID-19. The federal funds can be used in many ways to assist districts as long as they work towards the goal of preventing, preparing for, and responding to COVID-19. According to guidance
issued by the U.S. Department of Education, the funds can be used for:
Facility infrastructure improvements to maintain health facilities such as HVAC, roof, plumbing repairs or replacements.
Addressing the social, emotional, mental health, inequity, and academic needs of students.
Supporting the needs of children with disabilities.
Ensuring that students have access to teachers and other critical staff, including using funds to hire additional teachers and school staff.
Additional uses for the relief money may be submitted, as the state board of education has indicated that it is open to creative and new ideas on how to use these COVID-19 relief funds.
ISBE has specified how much each school district is entitled to receive as part of ESSER III funding. District funding allocations can be found in this chart
on the State Board of Education’s website.
School districts that have not yet applied for the third round of ESSER COVID-19 relief funds should do so through the state’s IWAS