Thirty nine states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have appropriated over half of their federal relief funds from the American Rescue Plan, using the aid largely to replace state revenues, including for education budgets, a report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities shows. States had appropriated $105 billion, or 53% of the total $198 billion, as of early November.
Just under half of states, 24, have dedicated a portion of funds toward education in addition to the ARP funds allocated specifically for that purpose. Minnesota, Michigan, Maine, New Jersey, Connecticut and the District of Columbia allocated between 1% and 16% of their funds toward pre-K.
Nevada, Maryland and New Jersey are among states that have appropriated the most for K-12 from their current allocations, at more than 25%. For example, New Jersey provided $600 million over three years to offer an additional year of school for special education students who would have aged out otherwise. Connecticut used $20 million to provide tutors for students.
The 11 states that have not appropriated their ARP funds have lagged because the money became available late into or after their legislative sessions.
Administrative and logistical delays have also led to states receiving their last third of ARP Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds later than initially planned. Previously, 23 states and Puerto Rico had missed the June 7 deadline to submit their plans, which were required to unlock funds from the U.S. Department of Education.
The majority of states missed their deadlines due to board of education or legislative review requirements, according to an Education Department spokesperson. Florida was the last to submit its application, in early October.
At least four states — Florida, Mississippi, Vermont and Wisconsin — and Puerto Rico are now waiting to have their state plans reviewed and approved by the Education Department before they can receive their remaining funds, according to the agency’s website.
Outside of education-specific allocations, the CBPP report shows more than $90 billion remains to be allocated by states, “meaning important decisions remain over the use of these funds in most states,” according to author Ed Lazere, senior fellow at CBPP. States will deliberate these decisions mostly in the upcoming 2022 legislative sessions.
While much of the current allocations were used to replace lost revenue, Lazere predicts there will be less of a need to do so with the remaining amount for next year’s budget season. That should make more room to address other disparities caused by the pandemic, including in education.
Some states that have already successfully begun to do so include California, which has set aside $530 million to expand access to behavioral health services and another $100 million to revamp youth mental health services. Maryland invested $480 million to fund an initiative focused on reducing racial and economic disparities in education over the course of multiple years.