Procedures for Ensuring LEA Maintenance of Equity
All local educational agencies (LEAs) that accept Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds authorized under the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act of 2021, otherwise referred to as ARP ESSER funds, are subject to local Maintenance of Equity (MOEquity) provisions unless they are excepted for one or more of the following reasons:
- Enroll fewer than 1,000 students;
- Operate a single school;
- Serve all students within each grade span with a single school;
- Demonstrate to, and receive approval from, the United States Department of Education for an exceptional or uncontrollable circumstance; or
- Certify to the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) that they did not experience an aggregate reduction in combined State and local per-pupil funding in the state fiscal year.
The purpose of the local MOEquity provisions is to ensure that essential resources are being used to meet the needs of students who have faced longstanding opportunity gaps in the U.S. education system. The local MOEquity provisions contain two parts, a fiscal requirement, and a staffing requirement. The fiscal requirement ensures that LEAs do not disproportionally reduce State and local per-pupil funding in the schools identified as “high poverty” for these purposes relative to all other schools they operate. Similarly, the staffing requirement ensures that LEAs do not disproportionately reduce the number of full-time-equivalent (FTE) staff per pupil in their “high poverty” schools relative to other schools they operate.
- LEAs will be selected for local MOEquity monitoring based on a random sampling of LEAs subject to the local MOEquity provisions in each state fiscal year (SFY) 2022 and 2023. Twenty-five percent, or not less than 15 LEAs, will be selected for monitoring in each SFY.
- Once selected, the NJDOE will email each LEA’s Superintendent, Business Administrator and ESSER Point of Contact to notify them of the selection and to provide all necessary documentation, including instructions and a workbook to use to submit staffing and funding data.
- LEAs must return a completed workbook to the NJDOE in a timely manner to allow the NJDOE to ensure compliance with the local MOEquity provisions.
- The NJDOE will issue a final monitoring report to each selected LEA that details the findings of the monitoring process, i.e., whether the NJDOE could verify that the LEA maintained fiscal and staffing equity in that SFY.
- LEAs found to be non-compliant will be required to submit a Corrective Action Plan (CAP) and will need to implement all corrective actions outlined in the CAP to receive a close-out letter.
- The NJDOE will make initial contact with the LEAs selected for local MOEquity monitoring through email. Initial contact for FY2022 will be made by fall 2022. The email will be sent to the LEA’s Superintendent, Business Administrator and ESSER Point of Contact. County office staff will be carbon copied. LEAs will have 14 days to return the necessary documents to the NJDOE. An extension may be granted if requested by the LEA.
- The NJDOE will follow up with the LEA by email one (1) to seven (7) business days after initial contact is made.
- Final monitoring reports will be issued to all selected LEAs within 30 business days of receiving the necessary documents from the LEA.
- Non-compliant LEAs will be required to submit a CAP within 45 business days from the date of receiving the final monitoring report. LEAs must implement all corrective actions outlined in the CAP for the NJDOE to issue a close-out letter.