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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

Requesting a Waiver

The Colorado Department of Education received approval of its Ed-Flex application from the U. S. Department of Education on July 24, 2020. Districts interested in waiving certain federal requirements are encouraged to submit the Colorado Ed Flex waiver application for approval.

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

For Additional Information Contact:

DeLilah Collins
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