April 11, 2021

With new aid, schools seek solutions to problems new and old

With a massive infusion of federal aid coming their way, schools across the U.S. are weighing how to use the windfall to tackle problems that existed long before the coronavirus, AP’s Collin Binkley writes.

The $123 billion — offering some districts several times the amount of federal aid they receive in a single year — will help schools reopen and expand summer programs to help students catch up. It also offers a chance to pursue programs that have long been seen as too expensive, such as intensive tutoring, mental health services and major curriculum upgrades.

The catch: If important needs are overlooked — or if the money doesn’t bring tangible improvements — schools could face blowback from their communities and from politicians who influence their funding. To keep future costs in check, few schools are adding heavy personnel costs. Instead, they’re adding teachers under short-term agreements, or hiring contractors for mental-health services.

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