In Youngstown, the school district bought 20 additional buses to improve social distancing. Cincinnati expanded its summer education program to 11,000 students. And Dayton hired 85 new teachers to ensure two certified teacher in every first, second and third grade classroom.
Schools across Ohio have spent tens of millions of dollars on additional staff and computers and have beefed up summer school offerings, thanks to federal pandemic aid to schools meant both as a lifeline to districts and an opportunity to think about big changes to their educational mission.
“I would call it a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape education in a compressed period of time,” said Kadee Anstadt, superintendent of Washington Local Schools in northwestern Ohio.
Since March 2020, the federal government has provided $190 billion in pandemic aid to schools, an amount that is more than four times what the U.S. Education Department spends on K-12 schools in a typical year. The Associated Press, relying on data published or provided by states and the federal government, tallied how much money was granted to nearly every school district in the country.