The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriation (CRRSA)

The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSA), was signed into law on December 27, 2020. This Act provides funding to supplement the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund awarded to each State under the previous CARES ACT, creating a second GEER funding stream, GEER II.

 

Uniform Guidance

ESSER GEER FAQ A-16. Do the requirements in the Uniform Guidance apply to ESSER and GEER Funds?

Yes. The requirements in the Uniform Guidance apply to expenditures of ESSER and GEER funds. Below are some important Uniform Guidance requirements to keep in mind.

Cost Principles. Specific uses of ESSER or GEER funds must comply with the Cost Principles in subpart E of 2 CFR Part 200 of the Uniform Guidance. This requires, among other things, that every grant expenditure be necessary and reasonable to carry out the performance of the award. (See 2 CFR §§ 200.403-200.404.) Consistent with requirements in the Cost Principles, all expenditures must be properly documented. (See 2 CFR § 200.403(g).)

Pre-award Costs. The Uniform Guidance at 2 CFR § 200.458 specifies that pre-award costs, i.e. those costs incurred prior to the effective date of the Federal award or subaward, are only allowable with prior written approval. The Department has authorized (i.e., provided prior written approval) that ESSER and GEER funds may be used for pre-award costs dating back to March 13, 2020, when the national emergency was declared.

Time Distribution Records. The Uniform Guidance requirements related to documenting personnel expenses at 2 CFR § 200.430(i) apply. Except as described in the paragraph below, this would mean that an LEA maintains the records it generally maintains for salaries and wages, including for employees in leave status, as long as payments to employees in leave status are made consistent with grantee policies and procedures that apply to all employees, whether they are paid with Federal or other funds. (For more information on paying employees in leave status, see the Department Fact Sheet at: https://www2.ed.gov/documents/coronavirus/factsheet-fiscal- questions.pdf.) An LEA must maintain time distribution records (sometimes called “time and effort” reporting) only if an individual employee is splitting his or her time between activities that may be funded under ESSER or GEER and activities that are not allowable under the applicable program. However, it is likely there will be very few situations in which an employee of an LEA would perform multiple activities where some are not allowable under ESSER or GEER, and thus would be required to maintain time distribution records, given that an LEA is authorized to use funds on “activities that are necessary to maintain the operation of and continuity of services in [an LEA] and continuing to employ existing staff of the [LEA]” in order to “prevent, prepare for, and respond to” the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cash Management. ESSER and GEER grantees, in their role as stewards of Federal funds, must comply with the requirements under the CMIA (implementing regulations at 31 CFR Part 205) and the Uniform Guidance (2 CFR Part 200). In particular, the CMIA requires that a State “limit the amount of funds transferred to the minimum required to meet the State’s actual and immediate cash needs.” (See 31 CFR § 205.11(b).) In addition, subgrantees, including LEAs, must minimize the time elapsing between the transfer of funds from the State and disbursement by the subgrantee. (See 2 CFR § 200.305(b).)

Construction. Approved construction projects must comply with applicable Uniform Guidance requirements, as well as the Department’s regulations regarding construction at 34 CFR § 76.600. As is the case with all remodeling or construction contracts using laborers and mechanics financed by Federal education funds, an LEA that uses ESSER or GEER funds for minor remodeling, renovation, repair, or construction contracts over $2,000 must meet all Davis-Bacon prevailing wage requirements and include language in the contracts that all contractors or subcontractors must pay wages that are not less than those established for the locality of the project (prevailing wage rates). (See 20 U.S.C. 1232b Labor Standards.) (See also FAQ B-6.)

Prior Approval. In addition to pre-award costs discussed above, the Uniform Guidance at 2 CFR § 200.407 requires prior written approval from either the Department or the State (Governor or SEA, as applicable) for certain costs, such as the purchase of real property; equipment and other capital expenditures; entertainment costs; and travel costs.

Purpose

Under the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER Fund), the U.S. Department of Education (Department) awards grants to Governors for the purpose of providing local educational agencies (LEAs), institutions of higher education (IHEs), and other education related entities with emergency assistance as a result of COVID-19.

Total Available Funding

The total available funding for GEER II for the state of Georgia is $47 million. Additional funding may be transferred from the EANS program to GEER II and become available at a later date.

Uses of Funds

1. Provide emergency support through grants to the LEAs that the State educational agency (SEA) deems to have been most significantly impacted by COVID-19 to support the ability of such LEAs to continue to provide educational services to public and non-public school students and to support the on-going functionality of the LEA;

2. Provide emergency support through grants to IHEs serving students within the State that the Governor determines have been most significantly impacted by COVID-19 to support the ability of such institutions to continue to provide educational services and support the ongoing functionality of the institution; and

3. Provide support to any other IHE, LEA, or education-related entity within the State that the Governor deems essential for carrying out emergency educational services to students for authorized activities described in section 18003(d)(1) of the CARES Act or the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA), the provision of childcare and early childhood education, social and emotional support, and the protection of education-related jobs.

 

Applying for GEER II Funds

The application period for GEER II will be August 1-August 31, 2021. Applicants can apply via the Georgia Grants Portal.

The total available funding for GEER II for the state of Georgia is $47 million.
Due to additional funding available through the transfer of EANS funding to GEER II, The Governor’s Office will announce an additional set of awards once further guidance is received.

Awards for both tranches will be from applications already submitted or Governor’s priorities.


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