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Florida Misses Deadline On Federal Money For Schools

Group of children with face mask back at school after covid-19 quarantine and lockdown.
The federal government is withholding a third of the stimulus funds earmarked for Florida schools until the state submits a plan.

Florida is among 21 states that have not submitted plans to the U.S. Department of Education detailing how they intend to use the latest round of federal stimulus funds earmarked for schools.

The department, on Monday, released a list of plans submitted by 29 states and the District of Columbia. Florida missed a June 7 deadline to submit its plan, citing a delay “due to (the) legislative session and required State Board review,” according to the federal agency.

The Florida Department of Education did not immediately respond to questions from The News Service of Florida about when the State Board of Education will review a plan and submit it to Washington.

Florida has been allocated more than $7 billion under the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, out of nearly $122 billion being distributed to states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. But the U.S. Department of Education is withholding a third of the funds earmarked for Florida until the state submits a plan and gets approval.

A news release from the federal agency said “the vast majority” of states that have not submitted plans cited pending reviews by state education boards and legislatures.

The news release said state plans that have been received by the agency outline using money to expand access to COVID-19 vaccinations for staff and students and to prevent and mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The department also said states reported using the federal money to offer summer learning programs and to provide mental health services for students.