Whereas lawmakers weigh carve up a large pot of COVID-19 reduction funding, Massachusetts Ok-12 college districts have solely used a fraction of the federal {dollars} they acquired, in keeping with the state’s schooling secretary.



BOSTON, MA - MAY 14: Education Secretary James Peyser speaks as hundreds of parents and grandparents demand equity in education during a march with Massachusetts Parents United at the State House on May 14, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Staff Photo By Angela Rowlings/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)


© Supplied by Boston Herald
BOSTON, MA – MAY 14: Schooling Secretary James Peyser speaks as lots of of fogeys and grandparents demand fairness in schooling throughout a march with Massachusetts Dad and mom United on the State Home on Might 14, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Workers Photograph By Angela Rowlings/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

Ok-12 colleges acquired greater than $2.9 billion throughout the three main stimulus packages accepted to this point, most of which flowed by way of the Elementary and Secondary College Emergency Reduction fund after which to districts in keeping with a system, Schooling Secretary James Peyser advised lawmakers.

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“As of now, lower than 10% of those system funds have truly been drawn down by college districts, a lot of these assets stay and can be utilized definitely throughout this college 12 months and past,” Peyser mentioned.

His feedback got here at a legislative listening to Friday to contemplate spend the roughly $4.8 billion in American Rescue Plan Act funding state authorities nonetheless has. Any extra cash the Legislature opts to steer towards Ok-12 colleges will complement an already sturdy pot.

One rising level of focus is college infrastructure, with many advocates and lawmakers calling to make use of state ARPA funding to modernize college buildings and early schooling amenities.

“Investing in constructing infrastructure is a one-time funding that doesn’t add to the state’s working funds, is instantly attentive to the pandemic, and may have a right away, transformative affect on our college and school buildings, particularly if these funds can prioritize Gateway Cities, low-income, and Black and brown communities and universities,” mentioned Massachusetts Lecturers Affiliation President Merrie Najimy.

Peyser mentioned some bills associated to the virus, akin to air flow enhancements, may be eligible to obtain ARPA {dollars} from the state, however “constructing a whole new constructing” might not qualify.

— Chris Lisinski/State Home Information Service

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