An ESSER Update

Another round of funding Elementary & Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) is being dedicated to public schools with the President's signing of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). This most recent funding is also referred to as ESSER III. 

ARP-ESSER State Plan and School District Plan Template: On August 5th, the U.S. Department of Education approved the ARP ESSER State Plan for Montana that the OPI had submitted on June 7th.  This action allows the OPI to begin transferring the remaining one-third of the ESSER III Fund balance to school districts.  It also gives the OPI an approved roadmap for helping our great Montana schools use this large influx of Federal funding to innovate and improve instruction for our Montana students.  Our plan recognizes local control, removes obstacles and barriers for schools, and enhances accountability without being overly burdensome.  

As a reminder, each local educational agency (LEA) is responsible for submitting an ARP ESSER School District Plan by August 24th in TEAMS.  You can click here to view the PDF of the template.

Previous Update: E-Grants Application - The OPI allocated the school district ESSER III funds on May 24, 2021!

On March 24, 2021, the Montana OPI received from the U.S. Department of Education (USED) the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) Funds, authorized under the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act. The ARP-ESSER provides $382,019,236 (ESSER III) for Montana schools to safely reopen and sustain safe operations of schools while meeting the academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs of students resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. This marks the third round of ESSER funding that Montana has received and is available through September 2024. 

COVID Related Funding Received By Montana Schools 

COVID-Related Funding Received for Public and Non-Public Schools Graphic: Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) I = $41,295,230; ESSER II = $170,099,465; ESSER III = $382,019,236; Emergency Assistance for Non-Public Schools (EANS) = $24,679,709; Total Funds = $618,093,640  

COVID Related Funding Spent 

• August 30, 2021 •

COVID-Related Funding Spent Graphic: ESSER I (Total= $41,295,230; $27,537,232 Spent; 67% Spent); ESSER II (Total= $170,099,465; $11,434,153 Spent; 7% Spent); ESSER III (Total= $382,019,236; 0% Spent); EANS (Total=$24,679,709; 0% Spent)


(click here to view full timeline with additional details)

  • May 24, 2021. MT OPI allocated the school district share of the ARP ESSER funds received on March 24, 2021 through the e-grants system
  • June 24, 2021.  Districts must make publicly available Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plans
  • August 24, 2021.  Districts must submit an ARP ESSER Plan to the OPI through TEAMS
  • September 1, 2021.  Due date to complete and submit ESSER II and ESSER III applications in the E-grants system

For more information, contact Jeff Kirksey, the ESSER Program Manager, at

Disclaimer: This information is subject to change as final guidance and information is released by the USED.

Last Updated August 13, 2021


For more information, please contact Jeff Kirksey, ESSER Program Manager,,(406) 444-0783



ESSER II & III Guidance

ESSER III District Plan Resources

District Allocations

Fund Coding