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Colorado Ed-Flex Program

Colorado Ed-Flex Program 


In 1999, Congress passed the Education Flexibility Partnership Act. The Ed-Flex Program allows the Secretary of Education to delegate to states, with strong accountability measures, the authority to waive certain federal education requirements that may impede local efforts to reform and improve education. It is designed to help districts and schools carry out educational reforms and raise the achievement levels of all children by providing increased flexibility in the implementation of federal education programs in exchange for enhanced accountability for the performance of students

  • Colorado was one of the original 9 states that were approved for this authority and have been an Ed-Flex state since 2001.
  • In past years, States have been able to renew their Ed-Flex authority through a streamlined process.
  • Now the USDE is inviting all states to apply for Ed-Flex authority and is implementing a new application and approval process. 
  • Ed-Flex authority has no impact on the amount of funds that the State or LEAs receive through ESEA Programs.  However, the flexibility provided through Ed-Flex Authority may impact how districts choose to use there ESEA funds.
  • CDE is working with several stakeholder groups to examine the ESSA legislation for potential waiver areas where Ed-Flex Authority may be used to increase the flexibility school districts have in implementing ESSA programs.


Ed-Flex authorizes States to waive certain requirements of the following grant programs:

  • Title I, Part A: Improving Basic Programs Operated by LEAs (other than section 1111)
  • Title I, Part C: Education of Migratory Children
  • Title I, Part D: Prevention and Intervention Programs for Children and Youth who are Neglected, Delinquent, or At-risk
  • Title II, Part A: Supporting Effective Instruction
  • Title IV, Part A: Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants
  • The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act


Ed-Flex program does not authorize an SEA to waive any statutory or regulatory requirements related to:

  • Standards, Assessments, and Accountability requirements under section 1111 of the ESEA
  • Maintenance of effort
  • Comparability of services
  • Equitable participation of students and professional staff in private schools
  • Parental participation and involvement
  • Distribution of funds to LEAs
  • Serving eligible school attendance areas in rank order in accordance with section 1113(a)(3) of the ESEA
  • The selection of a school attendance area or school under subsections (a) and (b) of section 1113 of the ESEA, except that a SEA may grant a waiver to allow a school attendance area or school to participate in activities under part A of title I if the percentage of children from low-income families in the school attendance area of such school or who attend such school is not less than 10 percentage points below the lowest percentage of such children for any school attendance area or school of the local educational agency that meets the requirements of such subsections
  • Use of Federal funds to supplement, not supplant, non-Federal funds
  • Applicable civil rights requirements
  • Any program requirements that apply to the SEA.


Examples of waiver requests CDE has received and approved in the past:

  • Title IA 15% carryover restriction (ESSA restricts LEAs from carrying over more than 15% of their Title I allocation into the next fiscal year).
    • Districts may only apply for this waiver once every 3 years
  • Title IA 40% Schoolwide Poverty threshold
    • Districts with approved waivers may administer a Schoolwide program in schools with a poverty rate lower than 40%
    • Once a school is designated as Schoolwide, they can continue that program regardless of fluctuations in their poverty rate


Exercising Ed Flex to Meet Needs During COVID-19

COVID-19 has profoundly changed how schools and districts operate. Schools have pivoted from in-person to virtual to hybrid learning models to promote student health and safety. Schools are experiencing significant staffing shortages in the effort to meet various instructional demands upon teachers and support staff and accommodate quarantines. Professional learning efforts have been rethought, rescheduled, or paused indefinitely. Fiscal staff continue to navigate emergency funding applications and requirements, delaying normal budgetary activities and timelines.

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented numerous challenges to the normal operation of schools and districts. Ed Flex provides possible relief from certain requirements under ESEA.

Ed Flex - Guidance for Districts (April 2021)

Ed Flex - LEA Application for submission to CDE (April 2021)

If your district is experiencing challenges and need for flexibility, please consider submitting an Ed Flex waiver to CDE Federal Programs Office via email.


Waiver Types and Deadlines:

  • LEA Ed Flex waiver application(s) should be submitted within 15 months of the initial grant period start date for the relevant program for which the waiver pertains to. CDE encourages timely submission of applications.
  • If applying for a waiver for Professional Development activities related to activities detailed in FY20-21 Consolidated Application, please submit by June 15, 2021. If seeking a waiver related to SY20-21 EDT results and implications with FY21-22 Consolidated Application, please submit by July 30, 2021
  • If seeking a waiver related to FY20-21 - FY21-22 Title I Carryover 15% limit, please submit by September 30, 2021.

For all other Ed Flex waiver applications, CDE will review on a rolling basis and respond within two weeks of submission.


Read more on Colorado's previous Ed-Flex applications in the Ed-Flex Archive. 

For Additional Information Contact:

If you have questions about this guidance, or seeking an Ed Flex waiver not mentioned above, reach out to your ESEA Programs Regional Contact at CDE.