DENVER (KDVR) — Federal COVID funding doesn’t just go to state and city governments – school districts have gotten a good chunk of change, too.
The U.S. government distributed or is slated to distribute funding to help address learning gaps caused by pandemic interruptions. The bulk of this funding falls under the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds bracket.
So far, the federal government has paid $1.63 billion to Colorado school districts in ESSER funding over three rounds of payments under both CARES and ARPA federal stimulus plans, according to a national analysis kept by the American Enterprise Institute’s Return 2 Learn Tracker.
The money tended to concentrate, naturally, in the state’s largest school districts.
Half of the total ESSER funding Colorado received went to just seven districts – Denver Public Schools, Adams-Arapahoe 28J, Jeffco Public Schools, Colorado Springs 11, Mesa County Valley 51, Pueblo City 60 and Greeley 6.
Together, these districts comprise about a third of Colorado’s students.
The districts in the Denver metro area received just less than half combined.
Some school districts do not have any ESSER funding attached to them in the AEI data.
Denver Public Schools received the greatest amount by far. Throughout three rounds of funding, Denver Public Schools has received $331 million – more than three times the next highest-paid district and one-fifth of all Colorado’s funding.