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FutureEd Analyzes Expenditures of Stimulus Dollars

Colorful pie chart next to text "FutureEd Analyzes Expenditures of Stimulus Dollars"

FutureED has begun to analyze the use of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) funds, authorized through three stimulus bills related to COVID-19.  Starting with California, which received the largest share of funds, FutureED explored where the money is going and “why visibility into local pandemic-recovery spending has been lacking.”

The report, How California’s Schools are Spending Billions in Federal Pandemic Relief, found that California has exceeded the federal requirement of 20% for academic recovery by 11%; mental health support makes up a smaller proportion of the total, but is growing as districts hire additional personnel, and that much of the spending has been attributed to vague categories, making it difficult to examine. FurtureEd finds the issue of transparency is especially stark, “The California portal includes a general category called ‘Other activities necessary to maintain operations,’ into which 1,130 districts and charters have reported $1.1 billion in spending—or about one fifth of the local education agencies’ ESSER III expenditures so far.”

Oakland Unified School District is of particular concern- it has put $30 million of the $52 million spent to date into the “other activities” category, and media reports have begun to show those funds are going toward paying utilities and balancing the district’s budget.

Read the FutureEd analysis here.

Posted:  16 June, 2023

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