Missouri has so much money, coming so fast, from federal COVID-19 relief bills that it is in danger of losing almost $2 billion dedicated to schools.

As Education Commissioner Margie Vandeven last week sought support for projects to improve teacher retention, members of the legislature’s Federal Stimulus Spending Subcommittee wanted to know how a key federal deadline escaped their notice.

The American Rescue Plan Act, passed in March, is the source of the money. The U.S. Education Department approved the state’s plan and released the last of the money in early October.

The problem is that the money can’t be spent until there’s an appropriation. And unless lawmakers pass, and Gov. Mike Parson signs, a supplemental appropriations bill before March 24, the money has to be returned.


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