AASA Reacts to CARES Late Liquidation Guidance

 Permanent link   All Posts

AASA Reacts to CARES Late Liquidation Guidance

This week, the U.S. Department of Education released information on how States can apply on behalf of districts for the late liquidation process for the CARES Act (ESSER I). AASA had anticipated that this guidance would set the parameters for future liquidation processes, particularly for ARP funding, for which we have been advocating quick action on by the Department for almost 10 months.

Fortunately, given how cumbersome this guidance is and how late it was released in the obligation window, this guidance only touches on the CARES Act liquidation process. The process set forth in this guidance and accompanying template by ED for CARES will dramatically restrict the ability of States to apply for late liquidation flexibility on behalf of districts given the administrative requirements on the LEA and SEA side. In addition, the lack of information outlined in this process creates confusion for States, LEAs and auditors. Most troubling, ED states that just needing more time on a valid obligation will not guarantee the liquidation is granted. This is extremely problematic as they do not provide any examples or details about what parameters would need to be for a district to receive late liquidation flexibility or what criteria a State would review to determine the request for late liquidation flexibility. We are ultimately grateful that this process is expressly only for CARES as it allows AASA and our allies additional time to advocate for a much more streamlined, flexible process from ED for ESSER II and ESSER III (ARP).

As of today, we have not heard from ED as to when they plan to issue or how they plan to issue ARP liquidation guidance despite our members’ urgent pleas. Further, ED did not answer basic questions about the late liquidation process that we have asked them to respond to for months such as why the extension is only 18 months and whether States can adopt a blanket liquidation extension.