Where did $50 million in pandemic education relief money in Idaho go? – Idaho Capital Sun

by | Sep 6, 2022 | Education

In 2020, Idaho found itself with $1.25 billion in federal funding to spend on coronavirus relief. 
Of that money, $50 million went to a program providing families with education spending grants. To get the money in those families’ hands, Idaho awarded a lucrative no-bid contract to a company represented by longtime Idaho Republican Tom Luna. 
Parents have largely been appreciative of the grants, which helped them buy new computers and other hardware, cover internet costs, and even pay for private tutoring and day care.
But the program was also costly, with over $2.6 million going to administrative fees to the vendor of the software that Idaho hired to run the program, ClassWallet, which won the no-bid contract with the backing of a lobbying firm run by the then-Idaho Republican Party chairman. Some of the parents also found that purchases they made through the site were more expensive than just buying the products themselves directly from vendors. And questions still remain about how $7 million of those funds were spent. 

The contract awarded by the Idaho State Board of Education

Federal money from the CARES Act was meant to support students from kindergarten through college as the pandemic shut down schools and forced a transition to online, home-based learning. Many families were left to balance their children’s education …

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