States and school districts reported spending about $4.4 billion in federal Covid-recovery funding in the month of March, bringing total expenditures to more than $95.7 billion—or just over half of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds, according to the latest federal data.
This represents a slightly slower pace of spending from the previous month, but states and districts still appear likely to meet the September 2024 deadline for using the entire $189 billion allotted in three rounds of Congressional appropriations.
FutureEd’s state-by-state breakdown of the data shows that spending is uneven. Schools in four states–Arkansas, Iowa, Oklahoma and Washington–has spent more than three fifths of their allotment, while Washington, D.C., has barely used one fifth. The city’s numbers have not budged since December, suggesting a reporting lag. In 23 states, schools have spent at least half their total allotment, while only D.C. and Wisconsin have spent less than a third. At least 13 states recorded $100 million in spending in March, including Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.
Overall, about 99 percent of the ESSER I funding provided in the CARES Act has been spent and 74 percent of ESSER II, which must be obligated by September 2023. For the third round of funding, which expires in September 2024, states and districts have spent nearly 35 percent.
The data do not capture money committed, but not yet expended, for contracts or projects such as capital improvements or long-term tutoring arrangements. We will update the chart when new information is available.
This chart reflects spending reported to the U.S. Department of Education through February 28, 2023. Earlier analyses showed spending of:
- $91 billion of 48 percent as of February 28, 2023
- $86 billion or 45 percent as of January 31, 2023
- $81 billion or 42 percent as of December 31, 2023
- $67.5 billion or 36 percent as of September 30, 2022