by Dr. Robert Luebke
Director of the Center for Effective Education, John Locke Foundation
Since 2020, North Carolina has received -almost $6.1 billion in federal covid relief funds. North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) reports that state, public, charter, and specialized schools have spent $2.231 billion — or a little over a third of all covid allotted funds. That means about 64 percent of covid relief funds remain unspent. Spending figures are from February 2022.
How are North Carolina Schools spending covid relief funds? To answer that question, NCDPI tracked .covid spending to one of six main areas. Here’s how covid spending was divided:
Salaries – 55 percent
Employee Benefits – 8 percent
Purchased Services – 6 percent
Supplies and Materials – 27 percent
Capital Outlay – 2 percent
Other -2 percent
Selected Highlights from Categories:
Salaries – Total: $1.224 Billion
Employee Benefits – Total: $182.7million
Purchased Services -Total: $134.9 million
Supplies and Materials – Total: $601 million
Capital Outlay – Total: $53.3 million
Other-Total; $34.6 million
By far the category with the largest expenditures was salaries. .Within that category, Bonus Pay accounted for.$718 million or about 32 percent of all covid spending to date.
Let’s remember, one of the main purposes of covid funds was to help redress the academic impact of lost instructional time.
A growing body of research has found tutoring to be one of the most effective ways to redress learning loss.
Meanwhile Tutorial pay, ($10.2 million) accounts for less than one half of one percent of all covid spending.
Many feared that much of the covid relief aid would be used for staff bonuses and salary increases at the expense of helping those most severely impacted by the pandemic
Sadly, it looks like those fears are being realized.