As we close in on the window for the third and final round of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Programs (ESSER) funds to be obligated, we wanted tc explore ways we have seen K-12 entities use these funds to keep their students, educators, and communities safe.

Our ESSER top 3 tech plays

ESSER III funds were intended to be used for “emergency relief funds to address the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had, and continues to have, on elementary and secondary schools across the Nation”. The ESSER III obligation deadline is September 30, 2024. The Department of Education has released information throughout the past several years around how educational technology can have a play within ESSER III funds, and here is our take on the Top 3 ways to include technology in your plans.

  • Cisco and Meraki are helping K-12 schools stay connected, safe, and secure through technologies like MV cameras and Cisco Spaces. Features like cloud-managed infrastructure make deployment quick and seamless.
  • Cloud Calling within K-12 education allows for continuous collaboration. When it comes to flexible learning and teaching, Cloud Calling helps K-12 entities take advantage of all learning opportunities through integrated collaboration, embedded security, exceptional performance, and a practical cost.
  • Educational technology to support distance and online learning fits right in to the scope of ESSER III. This also encourages the need for securing your network. Cybersecurity, privacy, and compliance are all vital for this space and Cisco Secure is a means to help protect schools.

As previously mentioned, funds must be obligated by September 30, 2024. The funds must be liquidated by January 30, 2025. To ensure properly obligated funds, extensions may be granted with the right approval. If approved, the liquidation period could be extended up to 14 months. As this is a “use it or lose it” program, any unobligated and unspent funding will be returned to the federal government.

Need guidance?

While ESSER III plans had to be completed and posted, it is possible to amend them if plans have changed. The Department of Education has much information around ESSER III, but we all know the funding landscape can be a confusing place. If you are looking for guidance, please feel free to reach out to a Cisco Public Funding Advisor at grantquestions@cisco.com. We are here to help you navigate ESSER III, as well as other funding streams to help you deploy your ever-important technology projects.

More funding resources




Hillary Hall

Public Funding Advisor