About 43%, or $6.1 billion, of federal COVID-19 emergency funds that states have passed on to districts were used to meet students’ academic, social, emotional and other needs. These activities represented the largest category of district expenditures during states’ fiscal year 2021, a report released late last month by the U.S. Department of Education said
Spending on safely reopening schools for in-person learning and expenses related to physical health and safety in schools accounted for the second and third largest shares, respectively, of ESSER subgrants to districts.
The report said while there are “hopeful signs of recovery,” education leaders and their communities at every level need to continue maximizing ESSER funds and other federal, state and local resources to address student needs.
Specifically, the report mentioned academic support through high-dosage tutoring programs and high-quality summer learning and after-school programs. Also emphasized was ensuring adequate staffing levels and mental health supports for students.
This analysis of states’ spending activity only covers fiscal 2021, which began in 2020 and ended June 30, 2021, for the majority of state education agencies. Since the American Rescue Plan legislation was not approved by Congress until March 2021, districts may not have had access to its funding or spending plans by the end of FY 2021.
Here’s a glimpse at some of the key figures in the report: BY THE NUMBERS