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ESSER GuidanceESSER Guidance

See pages 10-12 for allowable use of funds.

Federal COVID-19 Relief Funds Information

Federal funding has been divided over three grant sources since 2020. The CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act), CRRSA Act (Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Act), and ARP Act (American Rescue Plan) provide vital support to states, local education agencies (LEAs), and schools as we work to reopen schools safely, maximize in-person instructional time, and address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on students, educators, and families. These funds were designed to be used to implement actionable strategies to meet the urgent needs of students and educators as LEAs and schools work to return to and safely sustain in-person instruction, address the educational inequities that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, and address students’ social, emotional, mental health, and academic needs.

Generally, in determining whether an activity is an allowable use of funds, a state or LEA (local education agency) must determine

1. Is the use of funds intended to prevent, prepare for, or respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including its impact on the social, emotional, mental health, and academic needs of students? 

2. Does the use of funds fall under one of the authorized uses of ESSER funds?

3. Is the use of funds permissible under the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (Uniform Guidance, 2 CFR Part 200)? In particular, is it necessary and reasonable for the performance of the ESSER award?

These Federal emergency resources are available for a wide range of activities to address diverse needs arising from or exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, or to emerge stronger post-pandemic, including responding to students’ social, emotional, mental health, and academic needs and continuing to provide educational services as states, LEAs, and schools respond to and recover from the pandemic. 

For more information about the CARES and ESSER relief funds and how they can be budgeted and utilized, please see the ESSER Guidance document attached on the right.


Springfield Public School District 186 received $7,866,322* that had to be expended between March 13, 2020 and September 30, 2021. District 186 submitted an application and received funds in June 2020. The reporting of this grant included minimum quarterly expenditures and GATA Reporting to the Illinois State Board of Education. 

CARES funding had to address the needs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic for low-income children or students, children with disabilities, English learners, racial and ethnic minorities, students experiencing homelessness, and foster care youth. Funds could also be used for outreach and service delivery of programming for students.  

* This amount includes the equitable share for private schools within District 186. With both ESSER II and ESSER III, private schools received their equitable share directly from the State.

CARES / ESSER I Budget Overview
InitiativeAllocated TotalDetail and Timeline
Remote Summer Learning Opportunities 2020$920,000

Elementary, Middle and High School Summer Learning – Summer 2020

Purchased Services and Online learning$1,075,426

WiFi Hotspot Service Agreement (Verizon/T-Mobile) April 2020-August 2021
Various 12-month licenses for software to enhance remote learning opportunities
Transportation from First Student for extra routes, including special needs routes for medically fragile students.

Material purchases for remote and hybrid learning$1,980,298

Cleaning, sanitizing & PPE supplies for staff, students and building needs
Special needs PPE and programmatic e-learning supplies & materials
Technology: 2,050 Chromebooks and 1,351 iPads
Fine arts and PE supplies
Lost/extra textbooks
Food service warmers & coolers for food distribution during remote learning

Capital Outlay Purchases (Items over $500)$1,924,000

Teacher MacBooks upgrade (They were 5 years old and had trouble with the amount of use do to remote).
District-wide server upgrades to handle the traffic on the Internet.

Salaries and Benefits$1,202,149

8 new full-time permanent substitute assistant custodians
4 current part-time custodians elevated to full time
1 additional social worker
1 additional certified school nurse
All 2020 summer school and ESY (Special Education) staffing for remote instruction

Other Student Needs$337,322

Tutoring, other Supplies needed for PPE, nursing supplies

Private School Share$427,127

Purchases made through District 186 for private school pandemic needs (i.e. tutoring services, learning materials, technology, online services, PPE, nursing and cleaning supplies)

Total Budgeted$7,866,322

All funds had to be expended between March 2020 and September 2021.


Springfield Public Schools received $30,802,189 in ESSER II funding (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief). This federal funding added to the CARES funds and extended the spending through September 2023. ESSER II followed the same federal guidance for budgeting and approved use of funds as CARES.

District 186 began working through the ESSER grant cycle in July 2021 with district leaders, school leaders, teacher leaders, union leadership, community partners, families, and students. District 186 submitted the ESSER II grant to ISBE in July.

ESSER II Budget Overview
InitiativeAllocated TotalDetail and Timeline
Hiring staff for reopening$7,845,859

Use of permanent substitutes, dedicated substitutes, maintain pre-kindergarten staff, social workers, nursing staff, custodial staff, food service staff, family and community engagement liaisons

Purchased Services/Online Learning$9,408,481

District 186 will provide community partnerships (The Outlet, Kidzeum, YMCA, Mosaic), services for mental health and SEL practices, learning supports, transportation needs, and school community services.

Material purchases for all school reopening$10,258,602

Items include instructional, nursing, tech/media, operations and maintenance, custodial, fiscal, and school family engagement materials. All will help in school reopening and learning supports.

Capital Outlay Purchases$3,289,247

Computer refresh, nursing/special education items, operations and maintenance for cleaning and sanitizing, and updating servers.

Total Budgeted$30,802,189

All funds must be expended by September 2023.


Springfield Public Schools received $69,143,897 in ESSER III funding with a federal mandate of reserving 20% or $13,828,779 to address the academic impact of lost instructional time. 

District 186 began working through the federal guidance of ESSER III during Fall 2021. Superintendent Gill provided an overview of the spending plan at the December 6, 2021, Board of Education Meeting. The ESSER III application was submitted December 21, 2021, and ISBE approved December 27, 2021. As part of this process, Springfield Public School District 186 seeks stakeholder input between January 26, and February 9, 2022, on how this grant will support students, staff, and school operations. All members of the District 186 community are welcome to submit their input by completing the survey

District 186 continues to make planning updates, budget reviews, and necessary revisions as we move through the pandemic and keep in-person learning safe for all and doing what is best for students and families.

Springfield Public Schools Funding Recommendations

1. Safely reopen classrooms.
2. Maximize diverse and equitable in-person high-quality instructional materials or time.

3. Provide opportunities to accelerate learning due to Covid.
4. Maximize and meet students’ social, emotional, and academic needs.
5. Deeply sustain our workforce capabilities.
Federally mandated reservation to specifically address the academic impact of unfinished learning opportunities and lost instructional time.

The following table highlights the approved ESSER III budgeting aspects of the District 186 plan.

ESSER III Budget Overview
InitiativeAllocated TotalDetail and Timeline
Facilities upgrades$19,727,384

HVAC (Heating, Cooling, Circulation) and air quality improvements multiple buildings – 2022 through Spring 2025

Salary actualized costs$15,000,456

120 staff salaries placed in grant to retain and grow SPS workforce capacity and retain positions – Spring 2022 through Summer 2024

Negotiated Additional COVID compensation$7,544,359

Negotiated agreement with local bargaining units for all staff with stipend pay for additional duties during COVID includes stipend and benefits – Spring 2022-Summer 2022

Workforce Growth (Grow Your Own)$1,976,000

Build the workforce capacity over the next 3yrs with local university agreements for existing staff to get teacher certification – Spring 2022-Spring 2025

Instructional Purchased Service Supports$3,080,619

Online Learning Supports for classroom learning to maximize diverse learning and accelerate learning–(examples-Canvas Learning Management System, Edmentum Online Courseware and Exact Path, NWEA MAP Formative Assessment) – Fall 2022 through Fall 2024

Technology Device Refresh$3,000,000

Money has been set aside for a student and staff device (computers, Chromebooks, iPads) new refresh in Summer 2024.

Classroom Furniture Upgrades$3,126,475

Classrooms across the district will upgrade collaborative and flexible seating options including additional cafeteria furniture for spacing. New furniture allows for ease with social distancing needs and antibacterial surfaces. Spring 2022-Fall 2024

Community Partnerships$500,000

Community partnerships for the 2023-2024 school year (i.ethe Outlet youth mentoring during and after school, Compass for Kids After School Programming, YMCA After School Programming, Kidzeum 2nd Grade Science Hands on Learning Residency)

Final Year (23-24) COVID-related expenses$1,359,825

Paying additional staff and other necessary materials and purchases related to the pandemic during the final year of the grant cycle – Fall 2023-Summer 2024

Total Budgeted$55,315,118
Mandated Reservation – $13,828,779
InitiativeAllocated TotalDetail and Timeline
Summer Programs$12,161,217

All levels (elementary, middle and high) are free of charge for students in need, which includes materials and transportation needs. Summers 2022, 2023 and 2024

Summer Partnerships$513,801

Summer Learning and Enrichment partnerships – Summers 2022, 2023 and 2024

Summer online learning platforms and materials$305,000

Summer Learning and Enrichment online services and materials – Summers 2022, 2023 and 2024

Comprehensive After School Tutoring and Jump Start Summer Programs$848,761

Continuing after-school tutoring and providing summer boost for all levels. Jump Start programs are held in August prior to the school year. Fall 2022-Summer 2024

Reporting and Performance Tracking

Springfield Public Schools will make planning and budget updates based on ESSER spending reports and input from stakeholders every 6 months (July 2022, January 2023, July 2023, January 2024, July 2024).

ISBE and community reporting will be accomplished through: Summary Status Reports, Monthly Expenditure Reporting, Bi-annual Board of Education Reports, Budget Amendments as needed, COVID Dashboard to monitor COVID cases, Learning Recovery Plan, and Air Quality Upgrades and Facilities Status Updates on spending / project updates.

Performance Updates will include budget tracking documents, Board of Education reporting, vaccination updates, learning recovery plans and results, planning documents, tracking of in-person vs remote learning days, and overall school data reporting. Our website will house information about our Return to Learn Plans.