The last state standing is FL: It still hasn’t submitted a plan to get billions for public schools

State plans to the U.S. Department of Education were due June 7

By: - September 17, 2021 4:05 pm

Teacher with students, in a classroom. Credit: Getty Images.

As of Friday, 49 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico have submitted plans to the U.S. Department of Education to be able to access billions for COVID-relief programs at public schools.

But Florida isn’t on the list. In fact, it’s the only state that has not submitted such a plan. And the deadline was June 7.

That means Florida is missing out on its share of $2.3 billion dollars in additional COVID relief funds meant to help schools address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding could pay for measures addressing learning loss among students, hire additional staff for schools, or purchase necessary sanitation equipment. Other states have different amounts.

The Florida Phoenix reached out to the state Department of Education to find out why the agency has not yet sent in a state plan to the USDE.

Brett Tubbs, communication staffer with the state department, said in an email on Friday that the funds are intended to be used over several years, “…so, we are working with a frugal mindset to ensure districts have the funds they need to address their full educational recovery over the next few years,” he told the Phoenix in an email.

That seems unusual, given that all other states have been able to send in a plan, and 36 states and Washington, D.C. have already been approved, which means they can access COVID-relief funds for public schools. The allotments range from millions to billions, depending on the state.

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.

Overall, Florida was supposed to get a full stockpile — $15 billion for different COVID relief efforts. So far, close to 3 billion has been spent, according to the USDE.

Here’s what other states have been allotted for the COVID-related relief efforts at public schools, according to the USDE. The total is more than $41 billion. Florida is missing in the list because it hasn’t submitted a plan.

State  Total Award Amount
ALABAMA $2,021,518,529
ALASKA $358,770,937
ARIZONA $2,583,943,517
ARKANSAS   $1,254,119,960   
CALIFORNIA $15,079,696,097
COLORADO $1,167,153,961
CONNECTICUT   $1,106,696,657  
DELAWARE $410,733,965   
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA   $386,476,999   
GEORGIA   $4,249,371,244  
HAWAII $412,530,212
IDAHO $440,131,922
ILLINOIS $5,058,601,934   
INDIANA $1,996,145,076
IOWA   $774,516,216  
KANSAS   $830,585,182  
KENTUCKY   $2,001,216,921 
LOUISIANA   $2,607,334,054  
MAINE   $411,429,361 
MARYLAND $1,952,539,087
MASSACHUSETTS $1,831,416,990    
MICHIGAN   $3,719,833,128  
MINNESOTA $1,321,564,450
MISSISSIPPI $1,628,366,137
MISSOURI $1,956,529,215
MONTANA   $382,019,236   
NEBRASKA $545,908,619 
NEVADA $1,072,783,189
NEW HAMPSHIRE   $350,561,159    
NEW JERSEY   $2,766,529,533  
NEW MEXICO   $979,056,256  
NEW YORK   $8,995,282,324  
NORTH CAROLINA $3,601,780,364   
NORTH DAKOTA   $305,338,029  
OHIO   $4,475,243,513  
OKLAHOMA   $1,494,647,051  
OREGON   $1,121,814,984   
PENNSYLVANIA $5,000,509,095  
PUERTO RICO $2,968,079,229
RHODE ISLAND   $415,145,839  
SOUTH CAROLINA $2,113,567,527
SOUTH DAKOTA   $382,019,236  
TENNESSEE   $2,489,423,407  
TEXAS   $12,427,523,267    
UTAH   $615,292,016    
VERMONT $2,110,988,891
VIRGINIA $285,233,414
WASHINGTON   $1,852,501,071  
WEST VIRGINIA   $761,960,095  
WISCONSIN $1,541,867,439
WYOMING   $303,709,391  
Total w/o FLORIDA $41,011,408,829

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Danielle J. Brown
Danielle J. Brown

Danielle J. Brown is a 2018 graduate of Florida State University. She has served as an editorial intern for International Program’s annual magazine and Rowland Publishing. She was born and raised in Tallahassee and reviews community theater productions for the Tallahassee Democrat.