TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WFLA/AP) — The U.S. Department of Education says Florida is the only state in the nation that has not submitted a plan on how to spend federally approved COVID relief funds for education.
The department sent a letter Monday to Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran saying the state has missed the deadline to release the final round of federal relief money for schools.
The letter points out the state could receive $2.3 billion in additional funds once the plan is submitted.
Hillsborough County School Superintendent Addison Davis says his school district needs the additional funds.
“From our side of it in Hillsborough County we definitely need the money to be able to address the achievement gap, to be able to address so many efforts to be able to support our students and be able to support our working conditions of our adults to make certain our children have the best education possible,” said Davis.
He points out the additional funds would be substantial for the Hillsborough County School District.
“For us in Hillsborough County is equivalent to $162 million that we may have accessibility to,” said Davis who points out he sent a letter to Richard Corcoran in September pointing out the need for the funding.
Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office responded by saying some first round money hasn’t been spent yet, and some districts’ plans for the second round are still being reviewed or haven’t been submitted.
“The letter said that the funds will be sent after the plan is submitted; it doesn’t say that the funds will not be sent. The state will continue to work with the school districts to ensure their needs are met, and at this time, no district has articulated a need for funding that cannot be met with currently available resources,” a spokesperson for Gov. DeSantis said.
Superintendent Davis says he personally spoke to the superintendents of three other school districts and all indicated they have a need for the federal funds.
Davis says he will craft a new letter for Corcoran this week to specifically indicate why the funds are needed.
“We need every dollar and every cent that we can in Hillsborough County to help our teachers to help our students and to accelerate learning every single day,” said Davis.