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How Can States and Districts Use Federal Recovery Funds Strategically?

How Can States and Districts Use Federal Recovery Funds Strategically?

Federal COVID relief packages have allocated more than $176 billion to schools to address pandemic-related needs, making it the federal government’s largest ever single investment in education. This is an enormous investment compared to the average annual federal allocation for education (approximately $60 billion between 2013–14 and 2017–18). Furthermore, these laws provided great flexibility for both states and local educational agencies (including districts) in the use of funds.

In this series of fact sheets, published July 7, 2021, LPI’s policy experts discuss how states and districts can strategically develop, implement, and refine plans for investing federal recovery funds. The series focuses on the following four critical and high-impact areas of education:

Expanded Learning Time

Strategies emphasizing expanded and enriched learning time—in tutoring, after-school, or summer programs—can create powerful learning opportunities that efficiently accelerate learning and improve student engagement and achievement.

Expanding Early Childhood Education

Early childhood education is a key area which provides one of the highest returns on investment of any educational spending. Federal funds can be used for children from birth through kindergarten, on school campuses and in community settings.

Investing in Community Schools

Community schools are an evidence-based approach to improve student outcomes that provide a wide range of well-coordinated supports and services. These schools are proven to be especially important for underserved students and families.

Supporting the Educator Pipeline

Teachers have the highest in-school impact on student outcomes; yet the workforce is plagued by shortages of qualified educators. Investing in workforce development, recruitment and retention is a high-impact way to support quality student learning.


This research was supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, W. K. Kellogg Foundation, Pure Edge, and Yellow Chair Foundation. Core operating support for the Learning Policy Institute is provided by the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, Heising-Simons Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Raikes Foundation, and Sandler Foundation.