Skip to content
CityLab
Government

How U.S. Schools Are Spending $122 Billion in Stimulus Funds

Schools are investing federal funds in summer learning, transportation and online platforms. Whether the money is deemed effective could shape the future of education funding.

Students sit behind barriers work on Apple iPad tablets as they return to in-person learning in Long Beach, California. Many school districts used their federal stimulus money to invest in mobile devices. 

Students sit behind barriers work on Apple iPad tablets as they return to in-person learning in Long Beach, California. Many school districts used their federal stimulus money to invest in mobile devices. 

Photographer: PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP

The American Rescue Plan Act flooded U.S. schools with $122 billion in an attempt to blunt the pandemic’s impact. Now, a picture is emerging of how districts plan to spend the cash on everything from student enrichment to adding staff to air filtration in buildings. 

The funding represents a historic infusion of federal money into local school districts with relatively few restrictions. Allocated in March, it follows smaller piles of aid released earlier in the pandemic, but unlike the others, it requires schools to set aside at least 20% of funds to address learning loss.