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U.S. Department Of Education Approves Montana's ESSER Application


Helena - The U.S. Department of Education approved the Montana Office of Public Instruction’s application for Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds under the federal CARES Act. Montana will receive $41.3 million to support local school districts in responding to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Montana was one of the first states in the country to submit our application for ESSER funds last week to support our local schools,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen said last week. “Montana parents and teachers have gone above and beyond to serve their students in these unusual circumstances. I am glad to see that our state’s share of federal relief dollars will be making their way to local communities soon.”

Of the $41.2 million, $37.2 million will go directly to local school districts that have wide discretion over how to use the funds. The state receives about a $4.1 million set-aside to provide additional support to schools. Superintendent Arntzen is using a portion of the state set-aside to ensure that every Montana school district receives at least $10,000.

The OPI is consulting with education partners to determine how the remaining state portion should be allocated to best support Montana students. Options being considered are special education programs, community-based education organizations, distance learning support, addressing learning disruptions, and others.

School districts should be able to access their ESSER funds within the next two weeks and have until September 2021 to allocate them. Preliminary estimates for each district can be found at click on COVID-19 Information then Estimated District ESSER Allocations.


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