Maximize ESSER III Funds for Cybersecurity Initiatives


As the deadline for allocating American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds (ARP ESSER) approaches, school districts across the nation face a critical challenge: managing the ESSER III fiscal cliff. That is the time when these funds officially expire. While these funds have provided a lifeline for addressing diverse needs exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, including cybersecurity, the impending expiration raises concerns about sustainability and long-term resilience in protecting educational institutions against cyber threats.

Cybersecurity has become a paramount concern for school districts as reliance on technology for educational delivery continues to increase. From remote learning platforms to student information systems, educational institutions store vast amounts of sensitive data, making them prime targets for cyberattacks. Eighty percent of school district cybersecurity professionals have experienced ransomware attacks in their districts. * As such, investing in cybersecurity programs has become essential for safeguarding the integrity of educational services and protecting student privacy. 

  However, the sustainability of cybersecurity initiatives beyond the ESSER funding period poses a significant challenge for school districts. Without a sustainable funding model in place, districts risk reverting to inadequate cybersecurity measures, leaving them vulnerable to cyber threats and jeopardizing the safety and security of students and staff. 

So, how can school districts navigate the ESSER III fiscal cliff and ensure the sustainability of cybersecurity programs? Here are some strategies to consider: 

  1. Strategic Planning: School districts must develop comprehensive strategic plans for cybersecurity leveraging the NIST Cybersecurity Framework that extends beyond the ESSER III funding period. By partnering with MGT to assess current cybersecurity needs, identify potential risks, and establish long-term goals, districts can create a roadmap for sustainable cybersecurity initiatives.
  1. Budget Prioritization: School districts must prioritize cybersecurity within their budget allocations, even beyond the ESSER III funding period. By earmarking funds specifically for cybersecurity initiatives, districts can ensure continued investment in protecting educational assets and mitigating cyber risks.
  1. Grant Opportunities: Exploring additional grant opportunities at the state and federal levels can provide supplemental funding for cybersecurity programs. School districts should actively seek grants supporting cybersecurity initiatives that align with their long-term goals and objectives. MGT can help source additional cybersecurity funding.  

As we navigate the complexities of managing the ESSER III fiscal cliff and key deadlines, it’s crucial for school districts to prioritize cybersecurity as a fundamental component of their operations. This funding may have an expiration date, but our commitment to cybersecurity does not. We can help you develop comprehensive cybersecurity plans with and beyond ESSER funding. As well as explore new funding sources. 

Learn more about how MGT technology can help your school district. 

Contact us to maximize your district's ESSER III funds:

Publish Date

Posted on March 22, 2024