Blog Post

Funding in Education (ESSER II Deadline Sept. 30th, 2023)

September 4, 2023

Billions Lost Because Educational Institutions Miscalculated Their Deadlines

Colleges across the country lost out on almost $2 billion dollars that were clawed back by the federal government. Many believed that “allocating” the dollars to projects and purchases was enough to ensure they could hold onto those funds.

In K-12, many schools risk losing their COVID funding and facing a federal claw back similar to what occurred with HEERF dollars recently. These funds can be used for a variety of educational projects and tasks. As schools constantly strain their budgets, these funds can push new projects forward or complete existing ones.

Reports across the country are beginning to highlight how much funding is left unspent and what may be done. Recently, almost half a billion dollars in COVID relief funding to the Education Department was rescinded as part of a Federal claw back plan covering $27 billion.

NPR – May 2023 (

How Did the “Buckets” of Funding Impact Reporting?

Another issue affecting school funding reports is that ESSER funding was released in 3 “buckets”. While many schools try to spend these dollars “bucket-by-bucket,” ESSER expenditures may be incorrectly attributed to ESSER III expenditures instead of ESSER II. This is important because each “bucket” of funding has a separate spending deadline, with ESSER II funding being clawed back sooner than ESSER III.

Many schools began spending ESSER III dollars before spending down all of their ESSER II dollars. This is often done accidentally. With federal databases showing records of school expenditures differently than the schools might, there is a potential risk to schools of losing money because of an accident.

How Can Your School Benefit from ESSER?

Let DOF help you take advantage of these ESSER dollars and ensure that you don’t lose any of the dollars available to you. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Let’s discuss what other school leaders are doing to use ESSER dollars to help their schools and students.

See recently updated chart of Funding – Federal ESSER Dollars

Funding from ESSER can be used on:

Technology and Connectivity: ESSER funds can be used to purchase devices (such as laptops or tablets) and provide internet connectivity for students and staff to support remote and hybrid learning, including:

  1. Devices for Students and Staff: ESSER funds can be used to purchase laptops, tablets, Chromebooks, or other computing devices for students and staff members. These devices enable remote learning, online instruction, and educational activities that require technology.
  2. Internet Connectivity: ESSER funds can be used to provide internet connectivity solutions for students who lack access to high-speed internet at home. This may include purchasing Wi-Fi hotspots or supporting initiatives to expand broadband access.
  3. Technology Infrastructure: Funds can be allocated to upgrade and expand technology infrastructure within schools. This may involve improving Wi-Fi networks, increasing bandwidth, and enhancing network security to support digital learning.
  4. Digital Content and Educational Resources: Schools can purchase digital textbooks, e-books, multimedia content, and online resources to enhance the educational experience for students. These resources can supplement traditional textbooks and materials.
  5. Cybersecurity Measures: Given the increased reliance on technology, funds can be used to strengthen cybersecurity measures to protect sensitive student and staff data from cyber threats.
  6. Interactive Whiteboards and Classroom Technology: Schools can invest in interactive whiteboards, projectors, and other classroom technology tools that support both in-person and remote learning experiences.
  7. Distance Learning Resources: Schools can invest in solutions to keep teachers and students connected, including softphones and VOIP solutions; alerting solutions to keep parents, students, and teachers, connected; LMS platforms; etc.