How to waste a pile of federal education money
The nation’s public schools got more than $100 billion in federal aid to help them safely reopen after the worst of the coronavirus passed.
It’s been several months since those funds were approved. What have schools done with the cash? Some have spent it rather…creatively:
“Some districts are investing big money in initiatives that don’t appear at first glance strictly COVID-related,” notes Education Week. “Miami-Dade schools plan to spend $30 million, or $86 per student, on cybersecurity. Raleigh County schools in West Virginia lists a $9 million effort—more than $800 per student—to expand an elementary school, adding nine classrooms, upgrading the library, expanding the kitchen, and separating the cafeteria and the gym. The Newport News school district in Virginia is spending $840,000 for a new student information system to help teachers catalog students’ academic progress.”
An unnamed school district will use some of its COVID-19 relief funds to install vape detection devices, purchase new student ID cards, and build a tennis court.
Indeed, many districts seem to be spending significant chunks of money on upgrading athletic facilities and expanding stadiums, according to Education Week.
That’s not using the money to reopen safely. And it’s not like some local schools care about such niceties:
In North Carolina, several colleges with fewer students received significantly more money than other colleges that enroll more students. WRAL, a local station, asked dozens of the schools to explain how they planned to spend the money. Not a single one replied.
Maybe they are still waiting for the bids to come in on their tennis courts.