When looking at the month-over-month data tied to the ESSER II spenddown, April of 2022 was the turning point which put us on course to successfully spend down all of our ESSER II funding. From April, the positive momentum continued to drive us into a very favorable position through the month of September before we began to encounter headwinds, perhaps tied to the shift in focus to closing out the ESSER I grant. And while we may have lost some of our momentum over the past seven months, we still continue to show positive month-over-month gains. On the flip side, however, the slowdown in momentum has led up to a point where we are now at risk of falling out of the shaded area for the first time since April of last year.
*includes RFRs which have not yet received full approval
Looking at chart above, in addition to the month over month expenditures, represented by the blue bars, you will see dashed lines which represent key ESSER II dates and benchmarks. We can see that the one-quarter mark for spenddown was reached on December 11, 2021 and the one-third mark on March 3, 2022.
Although the ESSER II grant comes to an end on September 30, 2023, the spenddown chart is extended until the end of the calendar year. This is because the chart only captures expenditures which have been fully reimbursed and we know that the reimbursement process will continue beyond the September 30th date. Running this chart until the end of the calendar year provides us with an additional cushion on the back end in order to fully capture the grant expenditures. The area of the chart shaded in green represents where we should be, at any point during the year, to remain on track to hit our goal.
So how does our current position compare to where we were last year with our ESSER I spenddown? If we were to compare the current spenddown for ESSER II against the spenddown for ESSER I at this point last year, we will see that the percentages spent to date are quite similar, with the percentage spent slightly higher for ESSER I but the positive momentum slightly higher for ESSER II.
If we continue on the forecasted path for ESSER II, we will be on track to spend approximately 94%-98% of our ESSER II funds. Because there is no carryover tied to ESSER II, though, this could potentially mean returning a significant amount of funding.
To put this into perspective, we ended up spending 98% of our ESSER I funds, which meant that we ended with a total of $2,012,244.22 which was unspent. With ESSER II, because this grant is much larger, if we were to spend 98% of the grant, this would mean potentially needing to return $8,591,083.88 in funding, an amount larger than the total amount of many of our grants.
Thankfully we still have about 5 months to regain the momentum that we had last year. To do this, though, it will require all of our ESSER II grant recipients to ensure that ESSER II funds are being spent down, RFRs are being submitted when they are due, and ESSER Core Team representatives are contacted when support is needed. The ESSER Core Team will also be sending out reallocation memos to all LEAs receiving ESSER II funding. If you anticipate not being able to spend down all of your ESSER II funding, please indicate this on the memo as we would rather reallocate the funding than return the funding.
Thank you for all of your hard work and for your commitment to ensuring that we are able to overcome the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic through the use of the ESSER funds and, again, please do not hesitate to reach out to your ESSER Core Team representative if there is anything that we can do to help support you as we work to close out the ESSER II grant together.