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Schools Received $122 Billion to Reopen Last Year

Most has not been used

In March 2021, the Biden administration released the federal government's largest pool of pandemic relief for public schools. The American Rescue Plan (ARP) infused campuses with $122 billion to reopen buildings, address mental health needs and help students who had fallen behind academically.

The need was so urgent that two-thirds of the money — $81 billion — was released less than two weeks after the plan was signed into law and before the Education Department could approve each state's spending plan.

But despite having access to the dollars, school systems throughout the country reported spending less than 15 percent of the federal funding, known as ESSER III, the most recent installment of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief, during the 2021-2022 school year, according to a Washington Post analysis of data collected by Edunomics, an education finance group at Georgetown University.

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