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Q&A: Education Funding Update

By December 15, 2022January 3rd, 2023No Comments

The world of education funding is incredibly complex and comes from many different outlets. There are a vast number of avenues district and school leaders can take to gather funds for program and school support, however, there are also strict regulations on how funds can be spent and where dollars can be allocated. Where should districts start?

At one of our CB&A Expert Series Events: Show Me the Money: Education Funding Update, Dr. Jennifer House, President of RedRock Reports, joined our team to discuss the recent updates with education funding. These are some of the main questions and answers addressed in the webinar.

Q: Where is education funding currently coming from?

A: Education funding is currently coming from four separate sources. Federal, state, local and private outlets are currently providing funds to states and districts. Most of the money that groups are receiving is from federal funds, largely due to the increased flexibility that these funds provide. Districts are currently depending on those funds while they are still recovering from the pandemic.

Private funding involves a grant process that districts can’t always depend on to allocate within their yearly budget. So when those funds do come, districts have a very select list of ways in which they can spend the money they’ve received. All of the funding that schools utilize on a flexible basis comes from federal, state and local sources.

Q: How much federal funding is currently left?

A: When it comes to the various federal initiatives for education funding, here’s what you need to know:

  • The CARES Act: All of the funds have been spent (deadline was September 30th, 2022). 
  • CRRSA (Stimulus II): The original plan called for $54B dollars to be spent. As of now, all of the money has been spent or is already allocated to certain states.
  • The American Rescue Plan: Currently, the plan has $123B for K-12 school programs and $3B for higher education programs for the entire country.
  • EANS (Stimulus II and III): Program has $5.5B dollars left for spending.
  • HEER: Program has $75B left for spending.
  • ESSA Budget: Currently has significant increases underway for Title I initiatives and special education programs.

Q: What is funding being spent on right now?

A: There are many buckets where education funding can fall: personnel, consumables, subscription renewals. Educators are currently spending most of their money on academic recovery, facilities and operations, and staffing. Technology, mental health and physical health also fall under the majority of category spending.

In addition, academic recovery continues to be a focus as it’s been a long road since the transition from in-person to virtual learning. While it’s two years later, many students and teachers still find themselves unable to meet the pace they were at pre-pandemic. Districts are combatting these challenges by requesting funds to support programs for tutoring, summer school and technological development to provide students with the learning support they need.

Q: What is currently impacting funding?

A: As of right now, federal funding is impacted by the 2023 budget for education. Officials are hoping to add new investments to the budget such as Social Emotional Learning (SEL), mental health and addressing academic needs for students of color and students from low-income backgrounds.

It’s also dependent on what states are requesting the funds. States request funds at different times for different efforts; even though there is a large portion left for states to utilize, application timing is crucial and can affect how much funding a state receives. 

Q: How do districts request funding?

A: There are many different routes that districts and states can take to request funding. These are a few of the portals used to request funds on both a state and federal level:

While federal funding can feel like a complex web of paperwork, requirements and dollar amounts, when broken down and assessed piece by piece, it can serve as a strong resource to support schools and districts. Thanks to Jenny House, our knowledge on the current state of federal funding is stronger as we head into 2023. 

Looking for more insight into the current state of education funding? Watch our CB&A Expert Series Event Replay: Show Me the Money: Education Funding Update.