Many Massachusetts school districts are still recovering from the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, but have yet to spend their portion of the $2.5 billion in federal COVID funds.
The main reason why so many schools have been so slow to spend the money relates to even more COVID related economic issues. The funding was given as part of COVID aid from the federal government, some from the Cares Act, a supplemental relief bill, as well as the American Rescue Plan Act.
Many districts -- especially larger ones -- were unable to use a majority of the money over the past two years because of issues like labor shortages, supply chain problems and drawn out community engagement processes, according to the Boston Globe.
As of June, only $737 million had been spent, which is under 29% of the total funds. The only districts that spent more than half of their funding include Bedford with 83%. Needham with 88%, Falmouth at 85% and Winthrop at 73%. Meanwhile, Boston Public Schools have only spent about 20% of their allocated relief, the newspaper reported.
This doesn't mean that the money is not going to get used. Massachusetts has about two years to use the remaining funds and district officials across the state expect funding to ramp up with summer programs, more hires and other purchases ahead of the next school year.