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How N.H. schools and state officials are using $500 million in COVID relief money

Michael Brindley
The vast majority of funding goes directly to schools, which are spending their grants primarily on staffing, facilities and technology.

The New Hampshire Department of Education has released a new tool to track the federal COVID-19 relief money that's gone to each school district since the beginning of the pandemic.

Called iGrant, the tool shows how districts are spending three rounds of federal COVID grants, which totaled approximately $500 million.

The money, which runs out in 2024, can be used on a variety of expenses, from programs to address learning loss to air filters that decrease transmission of COVID-19. So far, school districts have spent the most money on staff, followed by facilities and technology expenses.

The largest pot of funds — about $90 million — is allocated to the state's largest district, Manchester. They've spent much of their grants on staffing, facilities and professional development.

In addition to an unprecedented amount of federal funding for school districts, New Hampshire also received about $63 million for its education department to spend on COVID-related initiatives.

So far, the department has doled out 30 grants. The biggest, $9.3 million, went to a collaboration with the University of New Hampshire to improve education technology tools, including an online learning management system.

Other large grants went to a literacy training program for teachers, a database for online instructional materials, and a contract to Prenda, a company that runs learning pods primarily for students who are not enrolled in public school.

Sarah Gibson joined NHPR's newsroom in 2018. She reports on education and demographics.

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