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LEA Application

The Nebraska Department of Education is committed to preparing a streamlined application process for LEAs to apply for the LEA portion of ESSER funds (the 90 percent distributed to LEAs) through the Grants Management System (GMS) with a simplified approach to reduce districts’ administrative burden. LEAs can expect to apply for their allocation of funding and start receiving funds within the next several weeks.

However, the authorizing legislation requires an applicant to respond to specific elements in the sub-grant application. The guidance document below provides LEAs with required application elements, allowable and unallowable uses of funds, requirements for equitable services to non-public schools, and assurances to assist with the planning in preparation for completing the CARES Act ESSER Fund sub-grant application.

To receive an ESSER Fund allocation, LEAs must submit the following information:

  • Programmatic, fiscal, and reporting assurances.
  • Descriptions on the uses of ESSER funds.
  • Other assurances and certifications.
  • Budget for ESSER sub-grant award. 

Programmatic, Fiscal, and Reporting Assurances

The Local Educational Agency (LEA) hereby assures the Nebraska Department of Education (NDE) the following:

  1. The LEA will use ESSER funds for activities allowable under section 18003(d) of Division B of the CARES Act, the United States Department of Education generally does not consider the following to be an allowable use of ESSER funds, under any part of 18003:
    1. Bonuses, merit pay, or similar expenditures, unless related to disruptions or closures related to COVID-19.
    2. Subsidizing or offsetting executive salaries and benefits of individuals who are not employees of the LEA.
    3. Expenditures related to state or local teacher or faculty unions or associations.
  2. When applicable, the LEA will provide equitable services to students and teachers in nonpublic schools as required under 18005 of Division B of the CARES Act.
  3. LEA receiving ESSER funds will provide equitable services to students and teachers in non-public schools located within the LEA in the same manner as provided under section 1117 of the ESEA, as determined through timely and meaningful consultation with representatives of non-public schools.
    1. The LEA will maintain control of funds for the services and assistance provided to a non-public school under the ESSER Fund.
    2. The LEA will have title to materials, equipment, and property purchased with ESSER funds.
    3. The equitable services provided to a non-public school with ESSER funds will be provided by the LEA directly or through contract with, another public or private entity.
  4. The LEA that receives funds under the Education Stabilization Fund shall to the greatest extent practicable continue to compensate its employees and contractors during the period of any disruption or closures related to coronavirus. The LEA will not use CARES Act funds for bonuses, merit pay, or similar expenditures, unless related to disruptions or closures resulting from COVID-19.
  5. The LEA will comply with all reporting requirements of the CARES Act at such time and in such manner and containing such information as the NDE may subsequently require. (See also 2 CFR 200.327-200.329). The NDE may require additional reporting in the future, which may include:
    1. The methodology LEAs will use to provide services or assistance to students and staff in both public and nonpublic schools,
    2. The uses of funds by the LEAs or other entities and demonstration of their compliance with Section 18003(d), such as any use of funds addressing the digital divide, including securing access to home-based connectivity and remote-use devices, related issues in supporting remote learning for all students, including disadvantaged populations.
  1. The LEA will ensure as the sub-recipient of ESSER funds will cooperate with any examination of records with respect to such funds by making records available for inspection, production, and examination, and authorized individuals available for interview and examination, upon the request of:
    1. The Department and/or its Inspector General; or
    2. Any other federal agency, commission, or department in the lawful exercise of its jurisdiction and authority.

Information on Uses of ESSER Funds

Section 18003 of Division B of the CARES Act provides in relevant part that grants awarded under the ESSER Fund be used to support the ability of local educational agencies (LEAs) to continue to provide educational services to their students. The Nebraska Department of Education requests the following:

The COVID-19 pandemic has elevated and illuminated the pre-existing inequities in health, education, and digital access for students and communities. The CARES Act provides an opportunity to focus investments to lessen these gaps. Information LEAs will include in their sub-grant application:

  1. A baseline of the district’s employees in FTE equivalents as of March 13, 2020 (used for later reporting purposes);
  2. Brief descriptions of how the LEA will use sub-grant funds for each selected activity allowable under section 18003(d) of Division B of the CARES Act and apportion ESSER Fund allocations among the twelve enumerated allowable uses of funds;
  3. A description of the extent to which the LEA plans to use sub-grant funds to advance equity for students with disabilities, students of color, English learners, and/or the economically disadvantaged; and
  4. A description of the challenges during the initial remote learning period, and to the extent to which the LEA plans to use sub-grant funds to address these challenges.

Other Assurances and Certifications

The Local Educational Agency (LEA) hereby assures the Nebraska Department of Education (NDE) the following:

  1. The LEA understands the general assurances that meets the requirements of section 442 of the General Education Provisions Act (GEPA) (20 U.S.C. 1232e) also applies to the CARES Act ESSER funds.
  2. To the extent applicable, an LEA will include in its local application a description of how the LEA will comply with the requirements of section 427 of GEPA (20 U.S.C. 1228a). The description must include information on the steps the LEA proposes to take to permit students, teachers, and other program beneficiaries to overcome barriers (including barriers based on gender, race, color, national origin, disability, and age) that impede equal access to, or participation in, the program.
  3. The LEA will comply with the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (Uniform Guidance) requirements in Subpart D—Post Federal Award Requirements (2 CFR §§200.300-345) and Subpart E—Cost Principles (2 CFR §§200.400-475) to ensure that LEAs, are using ESSER funds for purposes that are reasonable, necessary, and allocable under the CARES Act.
Updated June 2, 2020 10:12am