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• Spending on K-12 education in the measure is set to continue through 2028, although 90% of it will be distributed between 2021 and 2025.
As President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan was on its way to congressional passage, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., criticized the bill for being paradoxical. She said it was framed as immediate relief for the coronavirus pandemic and its associated economic impacts, yet it allocated money years into the future, when the pandemic will presumably be over.
During a March 4 press conference, Capito said, "We know that the bill that’s in front of us … has a lot of money in it for schools, but if you really look at it … it says that the school money is going to go out until the year 2028. This is supposed to be an emergency bill. It is an emergency to get our schools reopened and our students back to school. We need to get the schools open, and we still have money in the pipeline to do that."
Is some of the "school money" in the $1.9 trillion bill scheduled to go out as late as 2028? The short answer is yes.
Capito’s office pointed us to data from the Congressional Budget Office, Congress’ nonpartisan arbiter of budget figures. As the measure was being considered, CBO released a cost estimate for the section of the bill that falls under the jurisdiction of the House Education and Labor Committee.
The CBO estimate counts almost $129 billion of funding in the bill as falling under the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund. This accounts for the vast bulk of K-12 education spending in the measure. (Higher education funding is also included in the bill, but Capito’s remarks dealt with K-12 schools.)
Here’s a year-by-year breakdown of when that roughly $129 billion will be spent:
As the chart shows, some money will be spent on K-12 education every year between 2021 and 2028.
It’s worth noting that relatively little money will be spent as far out as 2028: Less than 1% of the total spending is scheduled to occur in 2028 itself, and collectively, the years 2026 through 2028 will account for only 10% of the spending.
The bulk of the money, about 60%, is to be spent in the middle three years — 2023, 2024, and 2025. About 30% would be spent in 2021 and 2022. (The 2021 fiscal year, which roughly overlaps with the 2020-2021 school year, is already underway. That helps explain the small amount allotted for 2021.)
In other words, only about one-third of the money would be spent relatively quickly, supporting Capito’s point. Relatively little money would be spent as late as 2028, but she is correct that some will be.
Capito said that the American Relief Plan "has a lot of money in it for schools, but if you really look at it … it says that the school money is going to go out until the year 2028. This is supposed to be an emergency bill."
She is correct that spending on K-12 education will continue through 2028, though 90% will be spent between now and 2025.
Her statement is accurate but needs additional information, so we rate it Mostly True.
Shelley Moore Capito, "Capito: Do What's Best for Students, Reopen Schools for In-Person Learning," March 4, 2021
Congressional Budget Office, cost estimate, Feb. 17, 2021
Email interview with John Buhl, director of media relations for the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, March 18, 2021
Email interview with Kelley Moore, communications director for Shelley Moore Capito, March 19, 2021
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