Readout of CCSSO, Education Department Call on CARES Act Funding

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Washington, D.C. (April 23, 2020) – The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) convened a call early this afternoon between state chiefs, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and other senior officials from the Education Department to discuss the application for and disbursement of K-12 funding allocated under the CARES Act. The call preceded a broader call with K-12 stakeholders.

Secretary DeVos said the department worked to create a simple process so that money can begin moving to meet student needs quickly. Above all, student health and learning is paramount, and the department is looking for every opportunity to empower local education leaders to serve students, she added.   

Officials expressed their thanks to CCSSO Executive Director Carissa Moffat Miller for her leadership, to CCSSO for serving as the conduit for important information to states, and to state leaders for their continued patience and productive relationships with the federal government. CCSSO Executive Director Carissa Moffat Miller thanked the department for their speed in setting up the grant application process and for keeping lines of communication open.

The $13.2 billion Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSERF) will be allocated to states based on their fiscal year 2019 allocations under Title I, part A. States were notified of their allocations earlier this week. State education agencies may retain up to 10 percent of their allocations, and the remaining 90 percent must be allocated to local education agencies, also based on fiscal 2019 Title I part A.

Officials expect funding will be disbursed to states within three days of receipt of a state’s application, barring unforeseen circumstances.

States and districts may use the funds to cover expenses incurred on or after March 13, 2020, when President Trump declared a national state of emergency, officials said.

Officials said it is premature to discuss maintenance of effort waivers. The law requires a case-by-case analysis of a “precipitous drop” in revenue, and the department will also have to consider any additional congressional action, they added.


The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) is a nonpartisan, nationwide, nonprofit organization of public officials who head departments of elementary and secondary education in the states, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity, Bureau of Indian Education, and five U.S. extra-state jurisdictions. CCSSO provides leadership, advocacy, and technical assistance on major educational issues. The Council seeks member consensus on major educational issues and expresses their views to civic and professional organizations, federal agencies, Congress, and the public.

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