School Daze: Districts Get $190 Billion Congressional Pandemic Upgrade

CBx Vibe:Whole Lotta Money” BIA

By Stephone Coward

  • A $190B pandemic windfall for school districts across the country through the CARES Act aims to repair our education system
  • 80% of funds can be used as school officials deem “reasonable and necessary”

Americans have witnessed the bailout of Wall Street banks, now we may finally see financial relief to the most deserving, our educational system. The CARES Act has become like a personal guarantor for $190 billion in funds to make necessary investments into our under-supported and underfunded educational system. It’s a pandemic windfall from the federal government for school districts across the country to “Dream Big.”

Why This Matters: There are very few stipulations on how school districts will have to spend the money they receive. Specifically, only 20% of funds need to be used to address learning setbacks, though it shouldn’t take a pandemic relief package to make these long overdue investments. This leaves 80% of the funds to be used as school officials deem “reasonable and necessary.”

For schools in places like Detroit, Los Angeles and NYC, with significantly high Black populations at 82%,16.4% 25.5% respectively, the flexibility in spending allows them to address long overdue repairs. Higher poverty rate schools, which commonly overlap low-income communities, will receive more funding per student than more wealthy areas. Many communities also want upgrades to online learning platforms, additional support services, books, equipment, and desperately needed increases in teacher pay.  

These K-12 improvements can put youth on a pathway to college and make them more competitive for scholarships, instead of relying solely on student loans. When you consider that 86% of Black students take out college loans, putting additional strain on their ability to own homes or start businesses, which have been cited as tools that can close the racial wealth gap, it’s imperative that we continue to properly fund K-12 education.

Situational Awareness: How America’s elected officials can say children are our future and we can’t come together to pass consistent transformational educational reform is a rare talent that I don’t wish I had. The fact that there are few strings attached to this funding tell me two things: congress knew pandemic funding was the only way to upgrade the education system; and the government has more faith than me that the funds won’t be squandered.

CBx Vibe:Whole Lotta Money” BIA

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