by Dr. Robert Luebke
Senior Fellow, Center for Effective Education, John Locke Foundation
So how much of the $1.9 trillion America Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) goes to K-12 education? The PIE Network (Policy Innovation in Education) produced a helpful graphic which details how ARPA money is distributed to states, local school districts and other K-12 entities. As is apparent from the graphic, Local Education Agencies (LEAs) receive the overwhelming majority ($109.8 billion) of the $128.6 billion in ARPA K-12 funds — 86 percent to be exact. If you’re interested in learning about much North Carolina will receive in ARPA funding, see here.
What should be clear is that LEAs have a lot of flexibility in how to spend this money. No less than 20 percent ($21.96 billion) of all LEA funds is committed to addressing learning loss. The other potentially 80 percent ($87.84 billion) can be spent at the discretion of the LEAs. It’s these expansive provisions that have led many to believe ARPA is merely another payoff by Democratic lawmakers to teacher unions, all under the banner of coronavirus relief.