Charleston, W.Va. – West Virginia’s maintenance of effort (MOE) waiver request for the use of federal Elementary and Secondary Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds has been approved by the U.S. Department of Education (USED). Governor Jim Justice and Superintendent of Schools Michele L. Blatt received official notification late this week.

 Although the state increased overall support for elementary and secondary education as well as higher education in FY 2023 and increased FY 2023 per-pupil spending, it did not maintain the same proportion of education spending in lieu of its budget surplus for that year. The MOE is required as a condition of receiving ESSER funding under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

The USED cited the state’s commitment to current and future education spending in its approval. This includes $273.7 million in supplemental spending for pre-K-12 funding in FY 2024 and an additional $148.6 million in FY 2025. Higher education support was also increased in FY 2024 by $146 million including additional dollars for dual enrollment programs, post-secondary students in foster care and post-secondary medical education.

“These supplemental appropriations are larger than the FY 2023 MOE gaps for both elementary and secondary and higher education,” USED Director of the Office of State and Grantee Relations Laura Jimenez stated in the approval letter. “Thank you for your ongoing commitment to education.”

“We are pleased the USED has recognized West Virginia’s support for public education and the continued efforts to advance learning and success of our students,” said Superintendent Blatt. “Teacher salaries, early learning classroom support, foster care initiatives and post-secondary focus areas are among the ongoing efforts to ensure students have a robust educational foundation to build upon. Gov. Justice is to be commended for his leadership during this process.”

Gov. Justice released a statement regarding the waiver approval that can be read .

In the approval, the USED highlighted West Virginia’s funding increases when comparing baseline years1 to FY 2023. These include:

  • Overall support for elementary and secondary education from an average of $2,082,961,475 in baseline years to $2,133,443,840 in FY 2023.
  • Increased support for higher education from an average of $447,224,048 in baseline years to $496,436,268 in FY 2023.

For media inquiries, contact Christy Day, West Virginia Department of Education Office of Communications, at 304-558-2699 or

1 Baseline years represent the state’s average spending on education during FY 2017-2019.

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