HONOLULU (KHON2) — A windfall of federal COVID relief money has yet to be spent statewide, but hundreds of millions of dollars specifically for public education is among the larger sums.
Hawaii’s Department of Education (DOE) got more than $400 million from a variety of federal COVID emergency funds, and the department has yet to spend most of it. Advocates are calling for more targeting and transparency.
Always Investigating analyzed the five different major grants totaling nearly $421 million. Only about one-third has been spent. A quarterbillion dollars — $251 million to be exact — is sitting on the books.
“KHON asking the tough questions and doing the digging is very important because, ultimately, our officials are accountable to the public,” said David Miyashiro of HawaiiKidsCAN. “And so I think that’s where if we can’t, as a public, understand how these funds are being used to really help kids in a transformational way, then that’s when we need to get our U.S. senators and the federal government involved.”