How Money Mattered

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Congress passed three stimulus bills — the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (March 2020); the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act (December 2020); and the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act (March 2021). Education received 4.6% of all federal stimulus funds in Colorado

The following graphic provides a timeline of the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) federal pandemic relief dollars allocated to education. All one-time ESSER dollars must be obligated by September 30, 2024.

ESSER (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief) funds were a lifeline for schools throughout the pandemic and were awarded to every state based on federal poverty guidelines (Title I allocations). Colorado received $2,075 per student through these federal pandemic relief funds. Funds were then distributed through the same Title I allocation across school districts in Colorado. 

This critical federal funding helped schools address the challenges of remote learning, safety protocols, and the ongoing academic and social-emotional needs of students. 

Keeping Students Safe:

  • Enhanced cleaning and sanitation measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • Improved ventilation systems to create healthier learning environments.
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff and students.

Supporting Remote Learning:

  • Acquisition of laptops and tablets to ensure equitable access to technology for all students.
  • High-speed internet access for students who lacked connectivity at home.
  • Professional development for teachers in utilizing online learning platforms and tools.

Addressing Student Wellbeing:

  • Hiring of counselors, social workers, and other mental health professionals to support students facing anxiety, depression, and other social-emotional challenges.
  • Summer learning programs to address learning gaps exacerbated by remote learning.
  • After-school programs to provide academic support and social interaction for students.

Beyond the Pandemic:

  • Upgrading aging ventilation systems for long-term health benefits.
  • Investing in professional development for teachers to improve instruction and integrate new technologies.
  • Supporting innovative teaching practices that cater to diverse learning styles.

Transparency and Accountability

We understand that you want to know how ESSER funds were used in your local school district. Districts have links on their website with information.

CSFP has compiled fact sheets for ESSER I, ESSER II, and ESSER III for each school district and BOCES in Colorado. FIND YOUR SCHOOL DISTRICT OR BOCES INFORMATION HERE.

Moving Forward

While ESSER funding has come to an end, the lessons learned and investments made will have a lasting impact on our schools. By strategically utilizing these funds, we’ve built a stronger foundation for student success, safety, and well-being, ensuring a brighter future for our schools.