ESSER and You: How to Get Funding for Your School

As part of the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) signed into law, ESSER (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief) funding is available to schools to address the impacts of Covid-19 on education. Clearly, music education has been adversely impacted by the virus. 

picture of person holding several 100 dollar bills

There is $126.5 billion available. Teachers who act quickly may secure significant funding to revitalize their music programs.

What can the money be used for? Several things, but below are criteria that could apply particularly to school music programs. (The notes in parenthesis are suggestions of how you might tie music education to the acceptable uses.)

  • Provide resources to address coronavirus (musician masks, bell covers)
  • Support efforts to improve preparedness (having enough large instruments like baritone saxophones, tubas, etc., so that students don't need to share them)
  • Addressing learning loss (private music instruction program, i.e., having specialists on each instrument provide supplemental lessons at school)
  • Purchasing the hardware and software needed to conduct remote and hybrid instruction (notation software like Sibelius or Finale, MIDI keyboards, microphones)
  • Supporting after-school and summer learning programs (music lessons, music camp)

How do you apply? The school district has to submit a funding request to the Vermont Department of Education. School administrators should be able to help with the process.

The music advocacy site "Be Part of the Music" created a multi-tab spreadsheet that teachers can use to prepare requests. You can download the spreadsheet (Microsoft Excel format). Important note: pricing information in the spreadsheet does not come from Ellis Music. You should confirm prices for items by using the Ellis Music website, or contact us and we can provide you with a quote for any items you need.

"Be Part of the Music" has posted a Frequently Asked Questions document with answers to many common questions regarding ESSER funding for music programs that you may wish to review.


Additional information:

Vermont music educators

Refer to the Vermont Department of Education pages regarding ESSER II and ESSER III (links will open in new windows). You can also see how much money your district has been allocated.

New Hampshire music educators

Refer to the New Hampshire Department of Education pages regarding ESSER II  (link will open in new window).