Many Massachusetts school districts are still recovering from the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, but have yet to spend their share of the $2.5 billion in federal COVID funds.
The main reason so many schools have been so slow to spend the money has to do with even more COVID-related economic issues. Funding was provided through federal COVID relief, some from the Cares Act, a supplemental relief bill, as well as the American Rescue Plan Act.
Many districts – especially larger ones – have been unable to use the majority of the money over the past two years due to issues such as labor shortages, supply chain issues and extended community engagement processes, according to the Boston Globe.
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As of June, only $737 million had been spent, less than 29% of total funds. The only districts that have spent more than half of their funding include Bedford with 83%. Needham with 88%, Falmouth with 85% and Winthrop with 73%. Meanwhile, Boston Public Schools have spent only about 20% of their allotted aid, the newspaper reported.
This does not mean that the money will not be used. Massachusetts has about two years to use the remaining funds, and state district officials expect funding to increase with summer programs, more hiring and other purchases before the next school year.