Florida finally applies for $2.3 billion in federal school funding

The state can spend school aid from the American Rescue Plan through September 2024.

Florida finally applies for $2.3 billion in federal school funding

Florida has submitted a plan to the federal government outlining how the state and school districts intend to spend some $7 billion in education aid through the American Rescue Plan Act stimulus law.

Under federal guidelines, the state Department of Education is given control over 10 percent of the money, with the remaining 90 percent going directly to school districts.

The state education department said it identified uses for the federal aid by analyzing standardized tests given to students in the spring.

In a letter to U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran wrote that the state plans to spend the money to advance four goals: closing achievement gaps, improving reading and math outcomes, bolstering outcomes in other content areas and enhancing student services and supports.

The state’s application was submitted Wednesday to the U.S. Department of Education. Its submittal will free up a third of the state’s allocation, or $2.3 billion, which was being withheld after Florida missed a June 7 deadline to provide the spending plan.

Florida was the last state or U.S. territory to submit such a plan, and the issue became a political flashpoint, with Democrats criticizing Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration for being late.

However, Florida Department of Education spokesman Jared Ochs argued in an email Wednesday that the state did not miss a deadline.

“The Florida Department of Education communicated well in advance with the U.S. DOE via a written notice on May 14, 2021, 24 days prior to the June 7, 2021 deadline, that it would not be able to submit the state plan in June and would require additional time,” Ochs said.

The state can spend school aid from the American Rescue Plan through September 2024.

Send anonymous news tips to [email protected]. Support local journalism in these crazy days. Our small but mighty team works tirelessly to bring you news on how coronavirus is affecting Tampa and surrounding areas. Please consider making a one time or monthly donation to help support our staff. Every little bit helps.

Subscribe to our newsletter and follow @cl_tampabay on Twitter.


Since 1988, CL Tampa Bay has served as the free, independent voice of Tampa Bay, and we want to keep it that way.

Becoming a CL Tampa Bay Supporter for as little as $5 a month allows us to continue offering readers access to our coverage of local news, food, nightlife, events, and culture with no paywalls.

Join today because you love us, too.

Scroll to read more Florida News articles

Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.