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Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) grants have provided fed​eral pandemic relief funding to enable schools to operate safely during the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic and support social-emotional and academic recovery.

Illinois received three rounds of federal pandemic relief grants: Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (ESSER I), Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (ESSER II), and American Rescue Plan (ARP ESSER), which totaled nearly $8 billion. The third and largest round of funding, ARP ESSER, included a stipulation that required school districts to solicit local stakeholder input to inform their spending and make spending plans publicly available. The Illinois P-20 Council created the P-20 Learning Renewal Resource Guide​PDF Document to inform spending decisions and provide evidence-based strategies that support students in the recovery from the disruption caused by the pandemic.

ESSER Spending Dashboard

Ninety percent of the federal pandemic relief funds flowed directly to school districts based on a formula that considered the number and percent of low-income students each district serves. The remaining 10 percent was allocated by the Illinois State Board of Education toward learning renewal initiatives aligned to the agency’s strategic plan.

ISBE created a funding dashboard to provide the public with an easy-to-use tool showing how Illinois is using federal pandemic relief funds. The dashboard represents the most up-to-date financial picture pertaining to the use of ESSER funds in Illinois. It provides insight into each school district’s allocation of the three ESSER grants, including the total allocation, the amount spent to date, and the funds remaining. Click here to view the ESSER dashboard​.​​

ESSER Spending Dashboard Tutorial

This tutorial provides an overview of how to navigate the ESSER Spending Dashboard which shows how Illinois is using federal pandemic relief funds.


 ESSER Reporting

All grantees are required to report on ESSER funds received under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act; the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act; and the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act. Grantees must submit an annual report describing how the State and subrecipients used the awarded funds during the performance period.

This report is essential for providing insight into how funds were used to support students and educators in addressing the impact of COVID-19 and ensuring accountability with respect to these unprecedented levels of federal investment.

 Maintenance of Equity Resources

Local Maintenance of Equity FYs 2022-2023 - Updated November 1, 2022

The U.S. Department of Education published its Final Requirements for the American Rescue Plan Act Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief fund  in the Federal Register on June 8. These requirements establish state reporting responsibilities regarding (LEA)implementation of MOEquity. Each state must publish LEA-level MOEquity data on its website according to the following timeline:

  • July 8, 2022 – A list of LEAs that are excepted from MOEquity in fiscal year 2022, along with the identification of high-poverty schools for any non-excepted LEA. The ARP Act excepts an LEA from MOEquity if it has fewer than 1,000 students, has only one school, serves all students in each grade span in a single school, or certifies that it has not implemented an aggregate reduction in combined state and local per-pupil funding in FY 2022 compared to FY 2021.
  • November 1, 2022 – A list of LEAs that are excepted from MOEquity in FY 2023, along with the identification of high-poverty schools for any non-excepted LEA.
  • December 31, 2022 – The applicable LEA high-poverty school data for FY 2022. - Published August 19, 2022
  • December 31, 2023 – The applicable LEA high-poverty school data for FY 2023.

Additionally, each state must publish a description of how it will ensure that any non-excepted LEA is protecting its high-poverty schools from a disproportionate reduction in per-pupil funding or staffing as required by the ARP Act. Each state must also specify when it will require any non-compliant LEA to describe what adjustments it will make to be in compliance prior to the start of the next fiscal year.

The spreadsheets below provide the relevant LEA-level MOEquity data; they will be updated as needed in alignment with the reporting deadlines noted above. Each LEA is identified by its unique identification codes (state and federal), along with its reason for exception. Eligibility for exemption or exception is monitored by reviewing enrollment data, current building configurations, and financial information. High-poverty schools are identified for any LEAs that did not meet the criteria for exemption or exception. For FY 2023, all LEAs met the criteria for exemption or submitted a Certification of Exception.

ISBE has established the following procedures to ensure that each non-excepted LEA is complying with the fiscal and staffing equity tests established in the ARP Act of 2021:

  1. Non-excepted LEAs must conduct the required fiscal and staffing tests using actual expenditures from the baseline year and budgeted expenditures for the comparison year. Results must be submitted to ISBE by early December of each fiscal year (i.e., December 3, 2021, for FY 2022 and December 2, 2022, for FY 2023). Guidance and tools for conducting the required tests are shared with districts annually.
  2. By the deadline communicated for each fiscal year, LEAs that determine they have not maintained fiscal and/or staffing equity in high-poverty schools must submit a plan describing what adjustments they will make to be in compliance prior to the start of the next fiscal year. ISBE will review these plans and provide technical assistance, as necessary.​

FY 2023 LEA Maintenance of Equity Implementation Resources - Updated July 25, 2022

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 includes requirements for states and Local Education Agencies (LEAs) receiving ESSER funds. These requirements, known as Maintenance of Equity (MOEquity), protect certain high-poverty schools from disproportionate reductions in state and local funding and staffing in fiscal years 2022 and 2023. ISBE has published guidance for FY 2023 implementation. For questions not addressed in the resources below, please email .

  • ISBE Resources
    • Notification to LEAs of FY 2023 ResourcesPDF Document  - via ISBE Weekly July 26, 2022 
    • FY 2023 LEA Requirements WebinarGo To Meeting Link : This pre-recorded webinar provides an overview of MOEquity requirements for FY 2023. It is divided into two parts. Part I provides information that is relevant for all districts, including the criteria for exemption and how to complete the FY 2023 LEA MOEquity Exception Survey if required (see below). Part II is for non-exempt or excepted LEAs that must conduct the full fiscal and staffing equity tests required by MOEquity.
    • Exempt/Non Exempt LEAsExcel Document : ISBE used data from the Entity Profile System this year to pre-identify LEAs for exemption, per certain statute-defined criteria. Specifically, an LEA is exempt from MOEquity if it has home enrollment of fewer than 1,000 students, operates a single school, or serves all students within each grade span in a single school (e.g., one school each for K-5, 6-8, and 9-12). All LEAs should verify their exemption status by reviewing the exemption report, which identifies all LEAs as exempt or non-exempt. If ISBE has accurately identified your LEA as exempt, no further action is required. 
    • FY 2023 LEA MOEquity Exception Survey: This survey is required for all non-exempt LEAs and will support LEA leaders in determining steps to comply with MOEquity in FY 2023, including whether an LEA is eligible for the Certification of Exception (waiver). Additionally, an LEA that believes that there is an error in ISBE’s list of LEAs pre-identified for exemption can request a revision in the survey. The survey was due for all non-exempt LEAs by or before September 12.
    • FY 2023 MOEquity Demonstration ToolExcel Document : This ISBE-created worksheet will support LEAs not eligible for exemption or exception in conducting the fiscal and staffing equity tests required by MOEquity. A completed worksheet is due to ISBE by or before December 2. 
  • Federal Resources

 ESSER Resources

Braiding ​and Blending Funds

In partnership with the Region 9 Comprehensive Center, ISBE is pleased to share a new resource to support school districts in delivering cohesive programming through the coordinated use of federal, state, and local funds: Braiding and Blending Federal Funds: A Step-by-Step Guide for Illinois SchoolsPDF Document. The guide includes an overview of braiding and blending concepts and provides state-specific guidelines, planning tools, and other helpful resources. In addition to scenarios provided by ISBE staff, the guide includes examples from three Illinois school districts. We are grateful to staff at Joliet Twp HSD 204, Danville CCSD 118, and Harvard CUSD 50 for sharing strong examples that demonstrate the coordination of financial resources to support student programs. This guide can be used as districts plan for the FY 2024 and future CDPs and consider strategies for sustaining successful programs beyond the ESSER obligation window.

The Illinois State Board of Education released a webinar for district- and school-level administrators. Leveraging Resources: Blending and Braiding Funds will assist districts in maximizing the use of the additional funds that districts have received. The webinar is specifically designed to help district administrative teams plan holistically, develop cohesive programs and services, and ensure sustainability through blending and braiding of federal, state, and local funds.




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