School Districts Using COVID Relief on Vape…

108 points


“Some districts are investing huge cash in initiatives that do not seem at first look strictly COVID-related.”

Robby Soave |

(Neonbrand / Unsplash)

Earlier this 12 months, colleges across the nation acquired greater than 100 billion {dollars} from the federal authorities—American taxpayers, in reality—in an effort to recuperate from the pandemic and eventually get again to the duty of educating children.

The feds stipulated that 20 % of that cash be put towards addressing studying losses throughout the pandemic, however the bulk of it may be spent at colleges’ discretion. Which implies, in fact, that many faculties are utilizing this sudden injection of money to make enhancements that don’t have anything to do with protecting COVID-19 at bay.

“Some districts are investing huge cash in initiatives that do not seem at first look strictly COVID-related,” notes Schooling Week. “Miami-Dade colleges plan to spend $30 million, or $86 per scholar, on cybersecurity. Raleigh County colleges in West Virginia lists a $9 million effort—greater than $800 per scholar—to develop an elementary faculty, including 9 lecture rooms, upgrading the library, increasing the kitchen, and separating the cafeteria and the gymnasium. The Newport Information faculty district in Virginia is spending $840,000 for a brand new scholar data system to assist lecturers catalog college students’ educational progress.”

An unnamed faculty district will use a few of its COVID-19 aid funds to put in vape detection units, buy new scholar ID playing cards, and construct a tennis courtroom.

Certainly, many districts appear to be spending important chunks of cash on upgrading athletic services and increasing stadiums, in keeping with Schooling Week. Athletics will be an essential a part of many college students’ lives, and letting children get again to sports activities was a superb purpose (amongst many) to maneuver away from the soul-crushing farce of digital studying and get all people again at school. However a barely nicer soccer discipline in all probability is not going to enhance college students’ take a look at scores or make them safer from COVID-19, which in any case are the 2 main justifications for all of the spending.

In October, Cause‘s Brian Doherty famous a terrific report from ProPublica that detailed one Texas faculty district’s plan “to spend $4 million of its training pandemic aid funds to assemble a 5-acre out of doors studying surroundings related to an area nature and birding heart owned by town.” The mission just isn’t anticipated to be accomplished till 2024, at which level it can not be essential—hopefully—to carry courses open air.

The American public training system’s grand reopening, which largely happened this fall, has not produced extreme outbreaks of COVID-19 in colleges. Given this, it would truly make some sense for colleges to spend the cash on issues that do not contain pandemic mitigation. After all, in the event that they spend the cash on personnel, they may ultimately find yourself with a shortfall as soon as the pile runs out; districts actually will not wish to decrease salaries or hearth workers as soon as that occurs.

In any occasion, the choice on learn how to spend the cash rests with state and native officers. The federal authorities has requested states to concentrate to the place the cash goes, however there’s little incentive for districts to report responsibly. In North Carolina, a number of schools with fewer college students acquired considerably more cash than different schools that enroll extra college students. WRAL, an area station, requested dozens of the colleges to clarify how they deliberate to spend the cash. Not a single one replied.

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