The New Jersey Department of Education recently sent out an advisory alerting local educational agencies that the purchase of security cameras with American Rescue Plan emergency funds must follow certain federal guidelines.

Although ESSER applications have been approved for the purchase of security cameras, the following additional guidance may impact certain LEAs. Please see the below information from federal grant regulations:

200.216 Prohibition on certain telecommunications and video surveillance services or equipment.

  • Recipients and sub-recipients are prohibited from obligating or expending load or grant funds to:
    • Procure or obtain;
    • Extend or renew a contract to procure or obtain; or,
    • Enter into a contract (or extend or renew a contract) to procure or obtain equipment, services, or systems that uses covered telecommunications equipment or services as a substantial or essential component of any system, or as critical technology as part of any system.

As described in Public Law 115-232, section 889, covered telecommunications equipment is telecommunications equipment produced by Huawei Technologies Co. or ZTE Corp. (or any subsidiary or affiliate of such entities).

Action Required

The NJDOE is advising local educational agencies to review the manufacturer of the cameras and ensure alignment with federal guidance. If the manufacturers are noted in the guidance above, the cost is deemed an ineligible cost for ESSER funds, and the LEA must modify the existing budget in the Electronic Web Enabled Grants system to remove this cost from the budget.