Over one year after the United States Congress passed the “American Rescue Plan,” the vast majority of school districts that were awarded relief funds have spent less than ten percent of that money.
According to the Washington Free Beacon, approximately $122 billion of the overall $1.9 trillion bill was designated for school districts that were determined to be in distress and in need of relief funds. But of that $122 billion, only about 7 percent has been spent in total across all the school districts nationwide that received some handouts.
For example, the Los Angeles Unified School District, which received over $2.5 billion, “has yet to spend a penny” of the federal funds, as reported by the Wall Street Journal. The New York City Public Schools district remains “behind target” on spending its awarded funds.
The American Rescue Plan overall earmarked about 20 percent of its school aid specifically for programs aimed at combating the setbacks in learning caused by the use of “remote” learning systems during the coronavirus lockdowns. But many schools have used that money to pay teachers’ salaries, such as Fairfax County Public Schools spending $32.7 million in teachers’ bonuses after the 2020-2021 academic year. The district also spent at least $500,000 on an online tutoring program meant to help students catch up on the learning they missed out on during COVID.
Parental rights’ advocates have warned that there is little to no accountability over where or how the money is spent. Amy Carney, a candidate for school board in Scottsdale, Arizona, has described the federal education funds as simply “a big experiment.” Carney pointed out that some schools have used the funds to hire radical, far-left groups like Panorama Education, which focuses on teaching students sexually explicit material and incorporating transgenderism into curriculum.
“I just think that we need people to get involved in their local schools and figure out what their money is being spent on,” Carney said. “The money needs to go to address real learning loss.”