On July 2, 2021, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) informed state educational agencies (SEA) that they may request waivers to provide additional fiscal flexibility for certain funds received under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA). This is in response to the continued extraordinary circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic and unprecedented challenges students, educators, staff, and schools faced during the 2020-2021 school year. ED recognizes it may not be possible to obligate these funds on a timely and responsible basis due to several factors related to the pandemic.
Specifically these waivers will enable SEAs to:
- Approve a local educational agency (LEA) to carry over more than 15 percent of its fiscal year (FY) 2020 Title I, Part A funds (i.e., the Title I, Part A funds that will become carryover funds on October 1, 2021), even if the LEA has received a waiver from its SEA to exceed this limitation for its FY 2018 or FY 2019 Title I, Part A funds.
- Provide additional flexibility to each SEA to be able to extend for itself and its subgrantees the period of availability of FY 2019 funds for programs included in the State’s consolidated State plan to allow additional time to obligate those funds.
As a unitary SEA/LEA, the Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) is requesting waivers of the following provisions of the ESEA:
- Section 1127(b) of Title I, Part A of the ESEA so that your SEA may waive, more than once every three years, if necessary, the 15 percent carryover limitation in ESEA section 1127(a) for FY 2020 Title I, Part A funds.
- Section 421(b) of the General Education Provisions Act (GEPA) to extend the period of availability of FY 2019 funds for programs in which your SEA participates under its approved consolidated State plan until September 30, 2022.
Once granted, these additional waivers will provide HIDOE with the flexibility needed to quickly adapt to the ongoing fluid circumstances presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. The added flexibility to spend down vital federal funds will assist HIDOE’s ability to coordinate innovative approaches to maintain the continuity of learning for all Hawaii public school students, while preventing additional learning loss.
We appreciate any feedback regarding Hawaii’s waiver request for flexibilities afforded under the CARES Act.
- HIDOE's waiver request can be read here.
A survey link is in the callout box above.The deadline for comments is Thursday, Aug. 31, 2021.