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RELEASE: Sununu Blames Schools for Not Accessing Federal Funds That He Hasn’t Let Them Apply For

Concord, N.H. -- Governor Chris Sununu has been unfairly blaming New Hampshire schools for not spending federal funding — funding that he has not even let them apply for yet. While New Hampshire schools are set to receive more than $350 million in the American Rescue Plan that became available this week, on top of the $150 million they received from the December COVID relief bill, Sununu has been unfairly criticizing schools for not using federal funds. However, according to NHPR, school districts are still waiting to hear from the state about how they can access the funds. As reported by NHPR, Lisa Witte, the superintendent of the Monadnock Regional School District, said school districts are “still awaiting guidance for how to access the money" and “can’t start spending what we haven’t applied for." Sununu has repeatedly attacked New Hampshire’s schools and teachers during the COVID crisis. Sununu approved of a plan to allow out-of-state vacation homeowners and members of ski patrol to jump ahead of teachers and get the COVID vaccine, proposed a budget that cuts education funding, and is now blaming teachers for not accessing federal funding that he hasn’t explained how to apply for. “Chris Sununu and his Department of Education have been sitting on millions of dollars in education funding for New Hampshire schools, not telling districts how to apply for the funds, and then unfairly blaming them for not accessing the federal funding that was delivered by our federal delegation,” said State Representative Mel Myler, member of the House Education Committee. “Sununu owes New Hampshire teachers and school districts an apology for blaming them for his administration’s inability to effectively distribute these funds and for preventing schools from opening safely.”

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Sununu’s Quotes Blaming Schools for Not Using COVID Relief Funds:

“In terms of resources, do you know, Laura, there's over 150 million dollars that the federal government has given to our schools that our schools have yet to even draw down. It's sitting there. It's ESA money. It is sitting there. The schools haven't even taken the money, Laura. So to say that the schools have access to more money to deal with COVID than ever imaginable. 150 million dollars sitting here, and I'm begging schools to take the money because it's the feds giving it to us. They can spend it this year, they can spend it next year, take the money. [...] So it basically is you know, if you have a COVID cost, we simply said, tell us, how are you going to spend the money and we'll send it to you. And they're not talking. I think 10 million dollars of 193 has been drawn down.” [NHPR, The Exchange, 22:45, 3/9/21] (AUDIO)

“The money, the resources, it's all there. I mean, most schools still haven't even drawn down on their additional COVID money that's -- I think of the first round of additional COVID funding that was provided, the $37.5 million, I think, as of last week, maybe $7 million had been drawn down by school districts. So there's still a lot of funding and opportunity there. And that doesn't even include the additional $150 million in the second round that they've already approved.” [Governor Chris Sununu, Coronavirus Press Briefing, 2/18/21] (VIDEO)

HOST DAN MITCHELL: “And I wanted you, to ask you about this, that there was money that came to the state through the coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act. That's money that was part of a bill that President Trump had signed back on December 27th. It's about 156 million dollars for the public schools in the state of New Hampshire. I guess what's happening is the school districts are still waiting on the guidance for how they can apply to get some of that money. And again, it's been on hold since December 27th. Do you have any idea about when that will come from the state of New Hampshire education, releasing that money and how the the superintendents can apply for some of that 156 million?” SUNUNU: “Let's be clear, the state is not holding that up one bit. Let's be very clear about that. [...] I think maybe 10 million dollars of that 190 million has been drawn down. Districts are not drawing it down. It isn't because of the -- districts aren't asking for the money. I wish they would, it is sitting there for them. Now, if -- there may be new guidance coming from the federal government, we just passed through the guidance. We don't create guidance on that, it's federal money. So whatever guidance, if there's any guidance to be waited on from the December bill, and I don't think there is, but if there was, then that would just be a pass through. [...] So anytime someone says we don't have the resources, we don't have the money, that's all, that's just not true. It is not true at all. It is all right there.” [WKBK, Good Morning with Dan Mitchell, 13:20, 3/10/21] (AUDIO)

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Concord, NH 03301

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