Hard to tell, where much of the COVID school money ended up
From Oct. 20:
After the pandemic shut down schools across the country, the federal government provided about $190 billion in aid to help them reopen and respond to the effects of the pandemic. In the year and a half since millions of children were sent home, the Education Department has done only limited tracking of how the money has been spent. That has left officials in Washington largely in the dark about how effective the aid has been in helping students, especially those whose schools and communities were among the hardest hit by the pandemic.
Provisional annual reports submitted to the federal government by state education agencies underscored the dearth of clear, detailed data. Agencies classified how the funds were spent using six very broad categories, including technology and sanitization. According to a ProPublica analysis of more than 16,000 of the reports covering March 2020 to September 2020, just over half of the $3 billion in aid was categorized as “other,” providing no insight into how the funds were allocated.
There were a couple of rounds of federal relief money distributed. The above deals with the first round. Apparently Minnesota did a considerably better job than plenty of other states did. Which is standard practice, due to this state’s voters never having handed things entirely over to right-wing governance. This next quote is taken from an article last January.
The first round of (Minnesota) funds was distributed between six programs, with the largest allocation of $244.8 million going through a Coronavirus Relief Fund. Those dollars were used for operational costs such as cleaning supplies, as well as providing for student, family and educator needs in the form of technology access, tutors, translation services, professional development and school-aged care for essential workers. To date, all but $17,000 of those funds have been spent.
If you’re interested, the following is about how the second round is supposed to be used. It’s from July.
The Minnesota Department of Education released its plan this week outlining how the state will spend more than $100 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds.
The American Rescue Plan Act, signed into law in March, directed more than $123 billion to helping schools and students across the country bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic. Minnesota received $1.3 billion, and the federal government requires the state to send at least 90% of that — nearly $1.2 billion — to school districts.
That leaves $132 million in flexible funds for the state Department of Education. The stimulus package mandates states divvy up the money between three areas: Learning recovery to make up for lost instructional time, after-school programs and summer programs.
So it will be a while before we have really clear reports about it all. In the meantime, hopefully any efforts at gross abuses will be exposed.
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