Important Reminder: Additional Time is Available for Districts to Spend Down ESSER III

January 24, 2024

AASA has heard from superintendents who would like to extend the timeline for spending American Rescue Plan funds (also known as ESSER III) and we are excited to share that the U.S. Department of Education has officially put in place a process for you to request as much as fourteen more months to liquidate ARP funding from your State Education Agency. 

Whether you have an impactful tutoring contract you want to extend or a contract with an outside provider to deliver mental health services for your students or a vendor who is providing high-quality afterschool programming, you should begin taking steps to speak with these contracted providers to vendors to see if you can amend your contract to reflect a longer extension of services. Districts automatically have until January 2025 to liquidate funding, but we know that many districts have contracts in place that end much sooner. If you are able to negotiate with your vendors to extend the delivery of contracted services, whether it be for curriculum access or for a new roof for your high school, now is the time to begin having those conversations to see whether you can braid local funds and American Rescue Funds together to extend these contracts beyond January 2025. 

The risk inherent in signing a new contract that you do not know whether the extended contract will be approved by your State Education Agency, which is why it is critical that you start having conversation with staff at your State Education Agency about utilizing this process. The State will have considerable paperwork to gather from you to ensure that you are requesting a reasonable extension in line with federal, state and local procurement laws. Like any request to a State, there is a chance that your extension request may be denied, so we recommend consulting with attorneys that work with your state superintendent association to ensure that your contract meets the requirements outlined in the federal guidance

This is not going to be a straightforward process, but it is one that you should begin to pursue now especially as you head into district budgeting season. If you feel you are hitting obstacles with your State Education Agency, please reach out to Sasha Pudelski who can try and assist you directly.