Emergency COVID money from early 2021 bill slow to be spent, goes to many non-COVID uses
“That’s the kind of thing that we should be exactly 0% surprised by,” R Street Institute senior fellow Jonathan Bydlak said. “Any time you have that much money flowing out of Washington, frankly without any real strings or oversight… you’re going to get these cases.”
Sperling said that despite just 12% of ARPA funds being officially spent, according to government numbers, a significant majority had already been committed to be spent by school districts. Sperling also said the passage of the ARPA funding lit a fire under school districts and motivated them to spend other COVID-related federal money they’d not yet allocated “ten times” faster.
Bydlak said such an argument “rings a little bit hollow” from “the same people who have largely fought” efforts to repurpose the ARPA funds elsewhere. Riedl was more blunt.
“If they were concerned that schools were not spending their own money fast enough they could have required that schools spent their money fast rather than giving them another $130 billion,” he said. “That’s an insane misuse of tax dollars.”