FL still missing out on billions for public schools; what’s the holdup?

48 states and D.C. have submitted plans to get federal dollars for COVID-related programs at schools, but not FL

By: - September 16, 2021 1:49 pm

Sarasota District Schools, transportation. Photo from Facebook page, Sarasota District Schools, transportation.

Florida is now one of only two states in the nation that has not submitted a plan to the U.S. Department of Education for providing billions in federal dollars to help public schools during the pandemic.

Overall, 48 states and Washington D.C. have sent in their plans — which were due on June 7, according to the USDE.  More than three months later, Florida and Colorado are still not on the list.

In addition, the USDE has already approved 36 of the state plans, plus Washington D.C., allowing access to full federal COVID relief to help  students overcome the impacts of the COVID pandemic.

By not sending in a state plan, Florida is missing out on an additional $2.3 billion.

The $2.3 billion is the last portion of a total $15 billion earmarked for Florida public schools over various federal COVID relief fund efforts.

In March, the Biden administration announced that $122 billion dollars nationwide was available for schools from the American Rescue Plan act, with two thirds of the money immediately available to states and the remaining third contingent on the USDE’s approval of a state plan indicating how the funds will be used.

Those $2.3 billion funds in Florida could be used to hire additional tutors for struggling students, address the costs of additional sanitation practices in schools, and help kids with mental health concerns as a result of the pandemic.

The Florida Phoenix reached out to the Florida Department of Education to get clarity on why the state is so late in submitting a plan and when the agency will send it to the USDE, and is awaiting a response.

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Danielle J. Brown
Danielle J. Brown

Danielle J. Brown is a 2018 graduate of Florida State University, majoring in English with a focus in editing, writing, and media. While at FSU, she served as an editorial intern for International Program’s annual magazine, Nomadic Noles. Last fall, she fulfilled another editorial internship with Rowland Publishing, where she wrote for the Tallahassee Magazine, Emerald Coast Magazine, and 850 Business Magazine. She was born and raised in Tallahassee and reviews community theater productions for the Tallahassee Democrat. She spends her downtime traveling to all corners of Florida and beyond to practice lindy hop.