• Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funding

    During 2020 and 2021, the Delaware Department of Education (DDOE) received federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funding to address the impact of COVID-19 on pre-k through grade 12 education. In addition to being used at the state level, this funding is distributed to districts and charter schools to support learning as well as the social emotional needs of students, educators, and families across the state.

    ESSER funding has been authorized under three different stimulus bills and is commonly known as ESSER I, II and III. 


    ARP ESSER III Funding

    To date, ARP ESSER III is the largest amount of emergency ESSER funding given to public education. Two-thirds of ESSER III funds are immediately available for states to distribute to districts and charter schools. Remaining funds will be made available once states, districts and charters develop ESSER III implementation plans. Under ESSER III:

    • DDOE, districts and charter schools are working together to develop strategic ESSER III plans that follow specific federal spending guidelines. Plans must be acted upon with urgency and with priority given to students who have experienced the greatest disruptions in learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • States receive ESSER III funds based on the same proportion that each state receives under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Title-IA.
    • Districts and charters must reserve at least 20% of ESSER III funds to address learning loss. 
    • DDOE must reserve ESSER III funds at the state level as follows: 5% to address learning loss, 1% for afterschool activities, 1% for summer learning programs.
    • DDOE has the option to reserve 10% of ESSER III funds for emergency needs as determined by the state plan to address issues responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    State Spending Plan

    State ESSER coverThe Delaware ESSER III Plan was submitted to the U.S. Department of Education on Monday, June 14, 2021. To ensure that the needs of students and communities were best reflected in state and local ESSER plans, DDOE engaged with and compiled feedback from students, parents, educators and stakeholders across the state. Feedback was also collected via stakeholder.feedback@doe.k12.de.us. All feedback was provided at a conversation with the secretary and deputy secretary on Thursday, May 20, during which the public was again given the opportunity to share feedback before the plan was finalized by DDOE. 

    Delaware district/charter learning mode information helped to further inform the state's ESSER III plan. This information includes: 1) The number of schools in the state providing each mode of instruction, 2) Student enrollment data for each mode of instruction by all students and disaggregated by subgroup, and 3) Student attendance data.

    District, Charter Spending Plans

    Districts and charter schools are required to seek broad public input when developing their ESSER III plans. This spending plan is in addition to the statuary requirement that districts and charters also develop plans for the safe return to in-person instruction and continuity of services.

    The ESSER III application was made available to Delaware districts and charter schools on Friday, April 16. DDOE is working closely with districts and charter schools to provide guidance and resources around planning that targets all students and makes a difference over the next three years.

    District and charter plans will be posted below as they are finalized.


    Important Dates

    • May 24, 2021 – DDOE receives two-thirds of total ESSER III funds. Funds must be given to districts and charter schools within 60 days.
    • June 21, 2021 – DDOE must post its website its district/charter learning mode information to include:
      • The number of schools in the state providing each mode of instruction
      • Student enrollment data for each mode of instruction by all students and disaggregated by subgroup
      • Student attendance data
    • June 23, 2021 – Districts and charter schools must develop and make publicly available a Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan that meets specific requirements.
    • August 23, 2021 – Districts and charter schools are required to submit their ESSER III plans using the DDOE ESSER III plan template.


    Additional Resources

    • American Rescue Plan (ARP) - Learn more about federal ARP authorizing ESSER III funds.
    • ESSER FAQs - Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about ESSER III and the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) program.