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Florida Lawmakers Say Tallahassee Is Holding Up Federal Aid Money For Schools

Six women on a screen, as part of a town hall on education
The town hall was hosted by Congresswoman Kathy Castor, lower left

Florida received its portion of the federal relief money in late March, and is supposed to disburse it within 60 days.

Florida is getting more than $7 billion for K-12 schools as part of a massive aid package called the American Rescue Plan, which President Joe Biden signed in March.

But Tampa Congresswoman Kathy Castor said in an online town hall Wednesday, the state hasn't released the money to any Florida school districts.

"And they have been slow walking the funds down to local school districts. They've (been) slow walking it to an extent that I had to write a letter to the governor to say release our funds. We need them in Hillsborough County," Castor said.

Stephanie Baxter-Jenkins heads the Hillsborough teacher's union. She says the $500 million meant for Hillsborough would help, especially as the district is facing the loss of about a thousand jobs.

"If we were just to release even a portion of some of the funds that the federal government has already sent Florida, we could stop this from happening," she said.

Castor urged Floridians to reach out to their state legislators to urge the release of the emergency relief money.

The Department of Education did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

I cover health and K-12 education – two topics that have overlapped a lot since the pandemic began.
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