DESE Receives Spending Authority to Distribute Federal Relief Funds to Schools and Child Care Providers

Thu 02/24/22 - 14:28

Today, the Missouri General Assembly passed and Governor Mike Parson signed into law House Bill 3014. Among a number of line items, this early supplemental budget bill includes 90 percent of Missouri’s American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) allocation that will be distributed directly to local education agencies (LEAs) — a total of $1.9 billion. This means the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has the necessary appropriation authority to meet the deadline to award these federal relief funds to LEAs by March 24, 2022. This supplemental budget bill also includes appropriation authority for the remaining $149 million in ESSER II funds.

“DESE appreciates the work of the legislature and Governor Parson to make these much-needed ARP ESSER dollars, commonly known as ESSER III funds, available to our schools as they continue to support pandemic recovery efforts in their communities,” said Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven.

The remaining 10 percent of the ESSER III funds will be taken up by the legislature as part of either the regular supplemental bill or the regular FY 23 budget. That $200 million is designed for the state to initiate statewide projects and efforts. DESE’s spending plan for these funds revolves around the agency’s four federal relief fund priority areas: learning acceleration, mental health needs, the digital divide, and the educator workforce.

“DESE looks forward to continuing our work with the legislature as they appropriate the remaining ESSER III funds to support important statewide projects,” said Commissioner Vandeven. “DESE’s proposed spending plan is to use the $200 million to make both long-term investments in students and schools while also continuing to support the immediate, short-term recovery efforts.”

In recent months DESE has worked to ensure LEAs’ ESSER III applications and accompanying spending plans were reviewed and approved while awaiting spending authority from the legislature. All but six LEAs’ applications have been approved; the remaining six LEAs are currently receiving technical assistance from DESE.

HB 3014 includes $444 million in child care stabilization funds for child care providers to help reimburse business operations, provide incentives to recruit and retain child care staff, and support professional development activities.

HB 3014 also includes:

  • Nearly $100 million for distribution to non-public schools
  • $219 million for school food programs