Arizona education chief says federal COVID funds ‘essential’ for safe schools

Oct 8, 2021, 11:01 AM | Updated: 11:32 am
(Photo by Matthew Hatcher/Getty Images)...
(Photo by Matthew Hatcher/Getty Images)
(Photo by Matthew Hatcher/Getty Images)

PHOENIX – Arizona has now received more than $4 billion in federal COVID-19 recovery funds for education, which Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman said has been “incredibly critical” for schools to safely reopen because “the state has fallen short” in that regard.

Arizona just received another $862 million from the federal government, the final slice of its American Rescue Plan school funding, after the state’s plan for using the money was approved, the U.S. Department of Education announced Thursday.

The department said in a press release it will “closely review and monitor” how Arizona spends the money after the Biden administration on Tuesday told Gov. Doug Ducey to stop using previous federal COVID aid for grants to schools without face mask mandates.

In all, Arizona received more than $2.5 billion in three disbursals this year to support K-12 schools as part of the American Rescue Plan after around $1.5 billion from last year’s COVID relief packages.

“This funding is incredibly critical,” Hoffman told KTAR News 92.3 FM. “It’s been essential for our schools to be able to reopen safely and provide that in-person instruction that we know is so important right now.”

Hoffman said schools have been innovative in how they’ve been using the funds to help students get back on track after the disruption of the pandemic.

“It’s been really exciting to see what our schools have been able to implement with these federal funds, and especially because I would say that the state has fallen short in making sure that our schools have everything they need to support students in this way,” she said.

As of Thursday, the U.S. Department of Education had approved 39 state plans for final disbursements from the American Rescue Plan, which allocated $130 billion for schools nationwide.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Griselda Zetino contributed to this report.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Irene Luevano, 37, was last seen at a bar near 27th Avenue and Camelback Road  in Phoenix with her ...

Phoenix police find car of missing 37-year-old woman

Police said Tuesday they found the vehicle of a Phoenix woman who was reported missing by her family days ago.
8 hours ago
(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)...
Associated Press

Sanders says he may support Sinema challenger in Arizona primary

Sen. Bernie Sanders suggested Tuesday that he'd support primary challengers against Democratic colleagues Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin, further intensifying a political battle within the party.
8 hours ago
(File Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)...

Maricopa community colleges get $17.1M from cannabis tax in first year of legality

Taxes from the sale of recreational cannabis during the first year of legality in Arizona resulted in millions of dollars for local community colleges, officials said Tuesday.
8 hours ago
Hualapai tribal dancers. (File Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)...

2 Arizona tribes to receive $1.6M in latest round of US tribal housing grants

Two tribes in northern Arizona will receive $1.6 million in federal grants as part of COVID-19 relief efforts, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced Tuesday.
8 hours ago
(Facebook photo/Phoenix Zoo)...

Phoenix Zoo to host extra night of ZooLights for adults on Thursday

Adults can go through the Phoenix Zoo's annual ZooLights holiday display one final time on Thursday before the experience is turned off until next winter. 
8 hours ago
(Petrified Forest National Park Photo)...

Skull of extinct crocodile-like reptile to be on display at Arizona museum

People will soon be able to get a look at the skull of a crocodile-like reptile that lived in Arizona millions of years ago.
8 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Arizona State University

This is the best year to get your MBA

Getting a master’s degree is a major commitment of time, energy, and money, so returning to school — even if you’re thinking about a part-time program that allows you to keep working — is one of the biggest decisions of your career.
Sanderson Ford

Sanderson Ford offers cars and deals for all this holiday season

Sanderson Ford’s No! Vember Black Friday sale is giving an opportunity to purchase a new 2021 vehicle just in time for the holiday season.
(Facebook Photo/NHTSA)...
Sweet James

Upcoming holiday season is peak time for DUI arrests

The holiday season may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it’s also the most dangerous time of the year to be driving. That’s why it’s important to remember to call Sweet James Accident Attorneys if you’re injured or arrested because of a DUI accident.
Arizona education chief says federal COVID funds ‘essential’ for safe schools