Skip to main content

Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER I) Fund


The CARES Act, signed into law on March 27, 2020, created the $30.75 billion Education Stabilization Fund (ESF). This fund provides $13.5 billion in pandemic relief aid for K-12 schools through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund. The state of Vermont received approximately $31 million in ESSER funds, of which 10% or $3,114,836 was set aside for AOE to develop state-wide approaches to help education entities respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The CARES ESSER funds allocated to your LEA must be budgeted in an approved award prior to April 29, 2021. LEAs will permanently lose access to allocated funds that have not been budgeted in an approved Grant Award by this date and those funds will be returned to the Federal Government. All applications and budget amendments for ESSER must be received by AOE by March 20, 2021.

The CARES ESSER funds are considered a federal formula grant. Due to the nature of these funds, the Agency is approving preaward costs as of March 13, 2020, resulting in a period of performance start date of March 13, 2020 and an end date of September 30, 2022.

Key Dates

March 13, 2020- Period of Performance begins

July 15, 2020—Application Opens

March 20, 2021—Applications Due

September 30, 2022—Close of the Period of Performance

November 30, 2022- Final Invoices Due to AOE

 AOE Guidance

Archived Guidance

The following AOE guidance has been archived for reference.

From US Department of Education


Creating and Editing the Application in the Grant Management System

All district administrators (superintendents) and business managers have permissions in the GMS to create and edit the application. If desired, a district administrator can delegate the ability to create and edit the application to additional staff, by assigning the role "leaCARES" to any staff members with a GMS account. See the GMS login page's Training section for the four page instructions and the User Management for District Administrators training video to learn how to assign this role. Note that, as with all other grant applications, only the district administrator can agree to assurances and do the final submission to the Agency of Education.

Reporting and Monitoring