The Beast Bank Conspiracy


THE GANTT REPORT, by Lucius Gantt
     Black people all across America are seeing the Black communities they grew up in turning to white neighborhoods.
     There’s no problem with anyone of any race moving into the neighborhood they desire.
     One of the problems with so-called gentrification is the unequal ability to acquire home and property loans.
     There is a devilish plan to move as many Blacks out of the inner cities as possible.
     Whites are tired of the bumper-to-bumper traffic they see trying to get from the suburbs to their downtown office towers.
     So, good bankers have their hands tied when trying to be fair and honest lenders.
      “Redlining” is real and is in full effect.
      In 2021, it’s just like being in 1921. Bubba and Becky, that have a 500 credit score, who live in the trailer park can get a new home loan faster than a Black couple, with a 700 credit score, that lives in a prominent neighborhood [and]can’t go to sleep and dream about getting a home, property or business loan.
      Let me show you how the financial devil works. First thing they do is conspire with each other. The beast bank plan is a group plan. The banks plan with the credit unions, they both have deals with the hard money lenders and all of the financial companies pool money to hire lobbyists to influence politicians to draft laws that will help them to keep Blacks from accumulating property and wealth.
      Well, you may ask, how can beast bankers and other conspirators get you to move from Black communities if you don’t want to?
      Grandma on a fixed income can answer the question for you. When your politicians need money to give out incentives to builders and developers, they jack up the taxes sky high on the family’s houses and the homestead becomes unaffordable.
     If, you can’t see it, feel it. The credit reporting agencies are accomplices to financial crimes.
     Can I prove it? In my mind, yes!
      Imagine having a mortgage for 12 years and making 144 consecutive payments. If you paid your note by check and the lender gets the check on time but lets it sit on a desk for a week, the wicked lender reports to the credit reporters that you were late paying.
      Another example, say you had a catastrophic injury or illness that caused you to be late a few times, lenders won’t lend to you but late payments never disqualify most white borrowers from getting a loan.
     Credit reporters will never consider years and years of “paying as agreed,” instead they will search for the smallest reason to deny you a loan.
     Understand, Black borrowers across America were victims of predatory lending perpetrated by financial predators that were penalized, reprimanded or jailed.
     Don’t act like the money crooks disappeared. They are alive and still predatory.
      Alleged criminal lenders like Litton, changed their name to Ocwen. They are the same people doing the same wicked things. They just changed their name.
      In million and billion dollar transactions, no one believes anyone. Every comment, statement or document has to be vetted.
     No crook, financial or otherwise, can say anything without having proof to back it up.
     When beast bankers and lenders deal with Blacks, instead of looking for reasons to loan to Blacks, they look for reasons to prevent people of color from getting access to capital.
      If you have $30,000 in the bank, banks will decline, in most instances, an opportunity for you to borrow less than the money you have on deposit even if you use your own cash as collateral.
     Listen to modern day neocolonialists or listen to me, African Americans in a capitalist society will never be free until we are financially free.
     Rich Blacks need to try and help poorer Blacks. We need to employ each other, lend to each other, we need to contract with each other and we need to love and take care of each other.
     We cannot depend on lending and financial equity to drop from the sky. Revolutions are fought for land and we can’t buy land to build Black communities if we don’t have financial unity and togetherness.
      How about Black churches and big Black business removing their money from banks that don’t lend to Blacks as a start to show unfair financial companies that people of color are not playing with our money.
      Be fair or we’ll be gone! Hopefully.

Nearly All-White Jury Selected. Can Justice Still Be Done in Arbery Case?


Time. The great equalizer. No matter how entrenched the emnity, no matter how engrained the system of belief, time has a way of correcting the ship’s course in even the most turbulent of circumstances. Even with an almost all-white jury (eleven white and one black) empaneled in the murder trial of the three white men who killed Ahmaud Arbery for jogging in the “wrong” place at clearly the wrong time, justice remains a real possibility.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has reported that out of 65 prospective jurors, one Black and eleven whites were selected to serve on the jury that will hear the case against Travis McMichael, his father Gregory McMichael, and William “Roddie” Bryan Jr. Four alternate jurors were also seated. All are white.

There will be those who at first blush will see this jury selection result as another monumental failure of the criminal justice system. After all, the county where Arbery’s killers are being tried is nearly 27% Black. In a perfect world, though, even if thirty percent of the jurors seated were black, the white jurors could still frustrate a unanimous guilty verdict if they were so inclined.

Dripping water will wear away a stone over time. The injustices to which blacks have been treated have become more acutely in focus in recent years. Once rejected out-of-hand by even well-intentioned whites, the fact of disparate treatment applied systematically in the “sacred and hallowed” halls of justice is harder now for anyone to deny– even those determined to justify it.

What used to be hidden is fully in the light, and over time whites have come to accept, however begrudgingly, that justice must indeed become blind if it to exist at all. As Sarah Dessen, in her book, Just Listen, opined: “There comes a time when the world gets quiet and the only thing left is your own heart.” 

It is also important to consider that blended families are everywhere today– and not the type that existed back when “Massa” was sleeping with the slaves. We’re just far enough away from the days of black codes and the KKK for whites to begin saying “No” to other whites who would disrespect and kill blacks with impunity– in far greater numbers and with less hesitation than the Abolitionists. After all, a lot of them have grandchildren of mixed parentage who look to them for counsel and advice, respect and love.

Call me naive, but I believe that the the evidence will show the three defendants to be guilty of capital murder, and I fully expect that the jury will do the right thing and return with the proper verdict. But I have no mystical crystal ball. As is always ultimately the case, time will most certainly tell.

Notice of Action in Dissolution of Marriage – Jeannette and Lavelle Brown


No: 2021-DR-12727


110 Timber Rust East
West Palm Beach, FL 33407

YOU ARE NOTIFIED that an action for Dissolution of Marriage has been filed against you and that you are required to serve a copy of your written defenses, if any, to it on JEANNETTE LISBEL BROWN, whose address is 6607 Precourt Dr, Orlando FL 32801, on or before December 23, 2021, and file the original with the Clerk of this Court at Orange County Courthouse, 425 N. Orange Avenue, Orlando, FL 32801, either before service on Petitioner or immediately thereafter.  If you fail to do so a default will be entered against you for the relief demanded in the Petition.

Copies of all court documents , including orders, are available at the Clerk of the Circuit Court’s office.

You must keep the Clerk of the Circuit Courts office notified of our current address. (You may file Designation of Current Mailing and E-Mail Address, Florida Supreme Court Approved Family Law Form 12.915.) Future papers in this lawsuit will be mailed to the address(es) on record at the clerks office.

WARNING: Rule 12.285, Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure, requires certain automatic disclosure of documents and information. Failure to comply can result in sanctions, including dismissal or striking of pleadings.

Date: October 26, 2021

Tiffany Moore-Russell
Orange County Clerk of Court
By: S. Wood
Deputy Clerk

1st publication date: October 29, 2021

Pub 10/29,11/5

OP-ED: Senate Republicans Block This Generation’s Voting Rights Act: Will President Biden Meet the Challenge? 


By Ben Jealous

Across the country, Republican state legislators have been busy imposing new voting restrictions and devising corrupt redistricting schemes to give their party more power than they could win under a fair system. Republicans in the U.S. Senate protected that wrongdoing again in October by using filibuster rules to stop federal voting rights legislation from coming up for debate. This is political obstruction of justice, and President Joe Biden and Senate Democrats must not allow it to stand.

One day before Senate Republicans made it clear that they have no interest in protecting the right to vote or a healthy democracy, 25 religious and civil rights leaders and voting rights activists were arrested in front of the White House. Hundreds more joined us in solidarity as we marched, sang, prayed, and demanded stronger leadership from President Biden.

We know that President Biden is a supporter of voting rights. His stirring speech at the National Constitution Center called voting rights the test of our time and brought moral clarity to our cause. Now we need presidential action that matches the urgency of Biden’s words and the urgency of our time.

In the eight years since the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act, dozens of states have erected new barriers that target voters who are Black, brown, female, and young. A flurry of new laws was introduced this year after record voter turnout contributed to the defeat of President Donald Trump and the loss of Republican control in the Senate.

The new wave of voter suppression is a direct response to last year’s expansive voter participation. These laws do more than undermine democracy. They defile it. Rather than celebrating efforts to broaden citizens participation, they seek to squelch it. Rather than expand the franchise, they seek to narrow it.   The Freedom to Vote Act would reverse many of the new anti-voter laws. It would expand access to voting by mail and early voting, make voter registration automatic, and make Election Day a federal holiday.

Together, these measures will increase access to voting for working people, Black and brown voters, women, and people with disabilities. The bill will also end abusive partisan redistricting and help stop billionaires from buying our elections.

All 50 Senate Democrats support the Freedom to Vote Act, as does Kamala Harris, our nation’s first woman Vice President, who is prepared to cast the 51st vote. But Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has demanded that his colleagues keep that vote from happening. They are preventing the will of the people from being realized.  With voter suppression and partisan redistricting threatening next year’s elections, we don’t have time to wait. .

The Freedom to Vote Act must become law now.  President Biden must use all his personal influence and the power of his office to protect voting rights. He must publicly call on Senate Democrats not to let Republicans’ resort to the tactics of Jim Crow succeed in blocking voting rights protections for our generation.

Those of us who have gathered at the White House are keenly aware of the generations of activists who put their bodies on the line to secure and expand the right to vote—including suffragists who faced beatings for having the audacity to demand the right to vote for women, and activists who risked and sometimes gave their lives to protect Black Americans’ right to vote. And we know the essential role that presidential leadership has played in overcoming resistance to voting rights.

This is a time for the “good trouble” that the great John Lewis called for at the height of the civil rights movement. We will be back at the White House throughout the fall, in greater numbers, to demand that President Biden do what it takes to get voting rights legislation onto his desk and signed into law this year.

Ben Jealous serves as president of People For the American Way. Jealous has decades of experience as a leader, coalition builder, campaigner for social justice and seasoned nonprofit executive. In 2008, he was chosen as the youngest-ever president and CEO of the NAACP. He is a graduate of Columbia University and Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar, and he has taught at Princeton and the University of Pennsylvania

Know Your Religion


The Gantt Report, By Lucius Gantt

     I’ve been writing editorial and opinion columns for most of my life. My writing longevity has endured because I’m smart enough to know to stay away from writing about “hair” and “religion”.

     Well, today I’ll try to give readers an impartial view on Christianity, Islam and Black people.

      First, let me say I have always been interested in worship and religion. As a child, Sunday School was enjoyable to me. Bible stories intrigued me.

     In college, I majored in Journalism but people don’t know I also had enough credits to have a major in Philosophy where I focused my studies on theology and ethics.

     In my professional career, I worked for or with many so-called religious leaders of various faiths. I interacted with Christians, Muslims, Santeros, Yorubas, Hebrew Israelites, Jehovahs and others. I worshiped at churches, mosques, Kingdom Halls, ceremonies and enjoyed myself at all of these and other different places.

      So, today’s column has been on my mind but difficult to express or explain.

      Let’s get to it!

      Africa is, and has always been, the center of the world. Africa was first to practice religion. Religion didn’t originate in the caves of Europe and slide down to the Motherland, it came from Southern Africa and traveled north.

       These words of former Kenyan President Jomo Kenyatta has significance to me today. Kenyatta said, “When the missionaries came, Africans had the land and missionaries had the Bible. They taught us how to pray with our eyes closed. When we opened our eyes, they had the land and we had the Bible.”

      If you don’t know, Christianity and Islam both have African origins. We taught them about God and religion in the beginning but today we imitate them and believe their methods of worship and their way to get close to the Heavenly Father.

     Now, don’t twist what I’m writing. All religious beliefs and all religious practices deserve some respect. We all have to reach God in our own way.

      My question is in this time of Critical Race Theory, why can’t we consider our history as it relates to how we people of African origin have related to Christians and Muslims.

      Not only do Christians and Muslims have a history of enslaving, exploiting and oppressing our ancestors, some religious factions treat us differently today and you can add the actions of Jews, and Judaism, that mimic the faiths mentioned previously.

     In my mind, good people that worship God should do some good things like love God and love your neighbors.

     You don’t bomb Black African countries, you don’t bomb Black churches, you don’t gun down Black parishioners attending Bible study classes and you don’t burn crosses in the yards of Black community activists.

     Don’t act like all believers in certain faiths act the same. Some religions and their leaders don’t even treat members of their own congregations the same way.

     The wealthy members attending churches and mosques don’t get treated like the homeless, mentally ill or struggling members of the congregation.

     White Evangelicals and white Muslims usually vote differently than Black Christians and Black Muslims.     

      All Muslims should know Bilal ibn Rabah al-Habashi, an African that was the first mu’azzin (prayer caller). Why Muslims, like Christians, sold Africans as slaves over several centuries, I don’t know.

     Back in the day, Jesus and Prophet Muhammad lived, dressed like and associated with their Believers.

     When doing media work for Rev. Henry Lyons at a past National Baptist Convention in Denver, Colorado I never saw so much gold, so many diamonds and so many luxury vehicles.

     Today, we have to study the religions we choose to practice. We had religion before missionaries, peace core workers, civilization bringers and democracy bringers came to Africa and we had religion before our ancestors were kidnapped and brought to Arabia and America.

     Our religion must recognize us, consider us and assist us. God deserves all of the honor, praise and glory. In most religions you praise God, not the messenger, the preacher, Imam or religious leader.

     It’s not a mystery why so many crooks and criminals find God after being incarcerated. Spending time in the chapel may help you get out of jail but you have to change your own mind and your own heart.

     Obviously, it is important to have a good relationship with God. God protects His soldiers.

     You know how tricky the devil is. Don’t be fooled by uninformed opinion writers or by devils in Angelic clothing. KNOW YOUR RELIGION!

Notice of Action in Dissolution of Marriage – Jeannette and Lavelle Brown



No: 2021-DR-12727


TO: LAVELLE D. BROWN West Palm Beach, FL 33407

YOU ARE NOTIFIED that an action for Dissolution of Marriage has been filed against you and that you are required to serve a copy of your written defenses, if any, to it on JEANNETTE LISBEL BROWN, whose address is 6607 Precourt Dr, Orlando FL 32801, on or before December 23, 2021, and file the original with the Clerk of this Court at Orange County Courthouse, 425 N. Orange Avenue, Orlando, FL 32801, either before service on Petitioner or immediately thereafter.  If you fail to do so a default will be entered against you for the relief demanded in the Petition.

Copies of all court documents , including orders, are available at the Clerk of the Circuit Court’s office.

You must keep the Clerk of the Circuit Courts office notified of our current address. (You may file Designation of Current Mailing and E-Mail Address, Florida Supreme Court Approved Family Law Form 12.915.) Future papers in this lawsuit will be mailed to the address(es) on record at the clerks office.

WARNING: Rule 12.285, Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure, requires certain automatic disclosure of documents and information. Failure to comply can result in sanctions, including dismissal or striking of pleadings.

Date: October 26, 2021

Tiffany Moore-Russell
Orange County Clerk of Court
By: S. Wood
Deputy Clerk

1st publication date: October 29, 2021

Pub 10/29

State Attorney Files Motion to Dismiss Indictments, Set Aside Judgments and Sentences and Correct Record in “The Groveland Four” Case


Date: Oct 25, 2021   TAVARES, FL – Today, State Attorney William “Bill” Gladson of the Florida Fifth Judicial Circuit, filed a Motion to Dismiss the Indictments of Ernest Thomas and Samuel Shepherd, Set Aside the Judgments and Sentences of Charles Greenlee and Walter Irvin, and Correct the Record with Newly Discovered Evidence in the case known as “The Groveland Four.”  Four Black men were falsely accused of raping a white woman in 1949.  Three of the men– Greenlee, Irvin and Shepherd– were tried by all-white juries and found guilty.  Shepherd’s conviction was later thrown out and he was granted a new trial.  Thomas never made it to trial. Shepherd never made it back to court.  They were both later killed by white mobs. The motion seeks to set aside the guilty verdicts against Greenlee and Irvin and to dismiss the indictments against Shepherd and Thomas.  In December of 2018, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi directed the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) to conduct a review of the 1949 criminal case in which Charles Greenlee, Walter Irvin, Samuel Shepherd, and Ernest Thomas were charged with the rape of a seventeen-year-old woman in Lake County, Florida. The men were subsequently pardoned by Governor Ron DeSantis on January 11, 2019.  In July of 2021, FDLE referred their investigation to State Attorney Gladson as the prosecuting authority for Lake County. “Even a casual review of the record reveals that these four men were deprived of the fundamental due process rights that are afforded to all Americans,” Gladson wrote in his motion. “The evidence strongly suggests that a sheriff, a judge, and prosecutor all but guaranteed guilty verdicts in this case. These officials, disguised as keepers of the peace and masquerading as ministers of justice, disregarded their oaths, and set in motion a series of events that forever destroyed these men, their families, and a community . . . I have not witnessed a more complete breakdown of the criminal justice system.” The motion details the procedural history of the case, the investigation by FDLE, the State Attorney’s review of the matter and the newly discovered evidence that forms the basis for the request.“My family and I are deeply grateful to State Attorney Bill Gladson and his team for their dedicated efforts to review the case and right the wrongs committed against the Groveland Four more than seven decades ago,” said Carol Greenlee, the daughter of Groveland Four member Charles Greenlee. “While we are thankful the Florida Legislature apologized and the Board of Executive Clemency granted pardons, full justice depends on action from the judicial branch. I hope this motion will result in that full justice for my father Charles Greenlee, Walter Irvin, Samuel Shepherd, and Ernest Thomas.”If the Court grants State Attorney Gadson’s motion, it would restore the legal presumption of innocence for Charles Greenlee, Walter Irvin, Samuel Shepherd and Ernest Thomas. After more than 72 years, the Groveland Four would be innocent in the eyes of the law. 

Colin Powell Remembered as a ‘Good Man,’ and ‘Great American’ by Nearly All– but not Donald Trump


By Kevin Seraaj, Publisher, Orlando Advocate

Colin Powell, the first Black U.S. Secretary of State, died yesterday at the age of 84. On Facebook, his family noted that “[he] passed away . . . due to complications from Covid 19.”

“We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and a great American,” the family wrote.

Condolences quickly poured in as news of his death circulated.

As a Senator, President Joe Biden worked extensively with Powell.

“Over our many years working together – even in disagreement – Colin was always someone who gave you his best and treated you with respect,” the President reflected.

“Colin embodied the highest ideals of both warrior and diplomat. He was committed to our nation’s strength and security above all. Having fought in wars, he understood better than anyone that military might alone was not enough to maintain our peace and prosperity. From his front-seat view of history, advising presidents and shaping our nation’s policies, Colin led with his personal commitment to the democratic values that make our country strong.” —

Former President Jimmy Carter, the oldest living American president at 96, called Powell “[a] true patriot and public servant. [W]e were honored to work beside him to strengthen communities in the United States, help resolve conflict in Haiti, and observe elections in Jamaica. His courage and integrity will be an inspiration for generations to come.”

Powell became the first Black national security adviser during the end of Ronald Reagan’s presidency, and was the youngest and first African American chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President George W. Bush. He was thrust into the global spotlight after leading the United States to victory during the Gulf War, and was pressed by many to declare himself a candidate for the presidency.

“Many Presidents relied on General Powell’s counsel and experience,” said Bush. “He was such a favorite of Presidents that he earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom — twice. He was highly respected at home and abroad. And most important, Colin was a family man and a friend.”

It was hard not to see Powell’s commitment to personal excellence. Former President Bill Clinton and former first lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton noted

“The son of immigrants, he rose to the top levels of military, civilian, and non-governmental service through intelligence, character, and the ability to see the big picture and attend to the smallest details. He lived the promise of America, and spent a lifetime working to help our country, especially our young people, live up to its own ideals and noblest aspirations at home and around the world.”

Powell was a true patriot– unlike those who claim to be patriots while denying to other citizens the very rights the nation’s constitutional framework demands.

Former President Barack Obama, a Democrat, who was endorsed by Powell, a Republican, in 2008 and 2012, and who himself shared the distinction of being a “first African American,” saw a man who held tight to the promises of America and refused to be denied them:

“General Powell helped a generation of young people set their sights higher. He never denied the role that race played in his own life and in our society more broadly. But he also refused to accept that race would limit his dreams, and through his steady and principled leadership, helped pave the way for so many who would follow.” .

Powell believed in the promise of America because he lived it, said President Biden, noting that the general devoted much of his life to making that promise a reality for so many others.

National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., said the Black Press of America will fondly remember General Powell’s contributions.

“We will remember General Powell’s commitment to public service and Black communities. General Powell was a friend of the Joint Center and participated in various events. . . . He always remembered where he came from and tried to ensure that opportunities would remain open to others – as evidenced by his support of affirmative action and other programs designed to facilitate economic mobility and the full participation of Americans from all backgrounds.

Amidst the condolences, salutations and outpouring of respect, admiration and good-will comes the not-unexpected, but still disappointing comments of The Man Who Would be King– Donald Trump

Trump’s disparaging comments about a man whose selfless dedication to democratic principles and American values are far worse that saddening– especially because the former president who remains the antithesis of presidential offered not one word of condolence.

“Wonderful to see Colin Powell, who made big mistakes on Iraq and famously, so-called weapons of mass destruction, be treated in death so beautifully by the Fake News Media,” Trump said in a statement. “Hope that happens to me someday. He was a classic RINO [Republican in Name Only], if even that, always being the first to attack other Republicans. He made plenty of mistakes, but anyway, may he rest in peace!””

So says the man who made an even bigger mistake on Covid-19, and remains too insecure or perhaps immature to admit it.

As Biden noted, “Colin led with his personal commitment to the democratic values that make our country strong. Time and again, he put country before self, before party, before all else – in uniform and out – and it earned him the universal respect of the American people.”

Too bad the history books will never be able to truthfully say that Donald Trump ever put anything before himself– not country, not party, and especially not democratic values. Too bad he treated the presidency as a one long episode of “The Apprentice,” and “too bad-so sad” he will never have the universal respect of the American people.

The Federal Government Gave Billions to America’s Schools for COVID-19 Relief. Where Did the Money Go?

The Education Department’s limited tracking of $190 billion in pandemic support funds sent to schools has left officials in the dark about how effective the aid has been in helping students.

by Annie Waldman and Bianca Fortis, Propublica

ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up to receive our biggest stories as soon as they’re published.

After the pandemic shut down schools across the country, the federal government provided about $190 billion in aid to help them reopen and respond to the effects of the pandemic. In the year and a half since millions of children were sent home, the Education Department has done only limited tracking of how the money has been spent. That has left officials in Washington largely in the dark about how effective the aid has been in helping students, especially those whose schools and communities were among the hardest hit by the pandemic.

“We’ve been in the pandemic now for nearly a year and a half,” said Anne Hyslop, the director of policy development at the education advocacy group Alliance for Excellent Education. “There is a responsibility to the public to make sure the funds are spent responsibly, but also make sure that the funding that is spent is accountable to supporting students and educators.”

Provisional annual reports submitted to the federal government by state education agencies underscored the dearth of clear, detailed data. Agencies classified how the funds were spent using six very broad categories, including technology and sanitization. According to a ProPublica analysis of more than 16,000 of the reports covering March 2020 to September 2020, just over half of the $3 billion in aid was categorized as “other,” providing no insight into how the funds were allocated.

In the absence of a centralized and detailed federal tracking system, the monitoring of relief funds flowing to the nation’s more than 13,000 school districts has largely been left to states. Some districts have been found to be spending their federal funds on projects seemingly at odds with the spirit of the aid program, such as track and field facilities and bleachers.

While such spending is not prohibited by the federal government, the stated goals of the relief program were to open schools safely to maximize in-person learning and, more broadly, to address the impact of the pandemic.

The Biden administration wants to collect more data. But its efforts have come more than a year after the previous administration began disbursing the relief funds, and some school districts have bristled at the belated push for more detailed data collection.

Hyslop said that while this may place an added burden on districts, the information is essential. “We need this data to make sure the needs are met, to make sure high-needs schools are not being shortchanged. … We have to make sure this is actually supporting students.”

Help Us Report on COVID-19: Has Your School Had a COVID Outbreak? Is Your District Following CDC Guidelines? Help Us Report.

The majority of the school aid was allocated from March 2020 to March 2021 and funneled through state education departments into K-12 school districts, which have until 2024 to budget the last of the funds.

Under the terms laid out by the federal government, states are responsible for developing tracking systems to ensure districts are spending the money on countering the effects of the pandemic.

The federal government has long given states considerable latitude in setting standards and curriculum. Christine Pitts, a fellow at the Center on Reinventing Public Education, said responsibility for tracking COVID-19 relief funds has similarly been delegated to the states, creating a patchwork of oversight practices. “There’s 50 states, and oftentimes in education that means there’s 50 different ways of doing the business,” said Pitts.

The federal government has started to request limited information from states on how districts have spent their funds. The department also requires spending plans from states, and those plans must be approved before the last round of funds is released.

These limited reporting requirements reflect the early, urgent days of the pandemic, when officials wanted to get money to school districts as quickly as possible.

In June 2020, as the first federal relief dollars were beginning to flow to districts, the office of inspector general of the Education Department warned in a report that the department must improve its oversight, monitoring and data collection to reduce potential fraud and waste. The OIG noted that after the 2007-2008 financial crisis, the Education Department was responsible for allocating $98 billion through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which led to numerous investigations into abuse and waste.

When the OIG raised concerns last year to then-Deputy Education Secretary Mick Zais, Zais said the pandemic aid legislation itself had created “enormous pressure” to distribute funds quickly, according to an OIG report.

A spokesperson for the OIG, Catherine Grant, said that while distributing pandemic aid presented its own challenges, oversight and monitoring were “longstanding” issues for the department.

Luke Jackson, a spokesperson for the Education Department, said in an emailed statement that the department was working with states and districts to collect preliminary data to “to ensure federal funds are being spent to best serve the needs of students, educators, and school communities.”

The law places few restrictions on how districts can spend the federal aid, as long as the investments are loosely connected to the effects of the pandemic. This wide latitude has enabled districts to fund projects that some education experts have deemed questionable.

In Iowa, the Creston Community School District allocated about $231,000 of its pandemic relief funds to upgrade its outdoor stadium, including an expansion of its bleachers. According to district documents, the construction is intended to provide increased space for social distancing and to make the bleachers wheelchair accessible.

Creston’s superintendent, Deron Stender, did not respond to ProPublica’s requests for comment.

Last month in Pulaski County, Kentucky, the school board approved the reconstruction of its track and field facilities, allocating about $1 million in federal pandemic funding for the track replacement.

“We want to have facilities that are great for our students,” the district superintendent, Patrick Richardson, told a local paper after the project was approved. Richardson did not respond to ProPublica’s requests for comment.

“There is certainly a lot of flexibility on how the money can be used,” said Hyslop of the Alliance for Excellent Education, but said athletic investments are “not in the spirit of the law.” 

The statement from Jackson, the Education Department spokesman, did not address a question from ProPublica about using relief funds for athletic projects.

In other cases, the spending priorities of school districts have drawn complaints from some parents. In Virginia, Fairfax County Public Schools spent more than $45 million of its early pandemic funding on ventilation systems and personal protective equipment. But some parents said that more federal aid should have been directed to services for students with special needs, who represent about 14.4% of the 178,000 students enrolled in the district.

Debra Tisler, a former special education teacher, said that her 15-year-old son, who has dyslexia, saw the 20 hours a month of specialized instruction that he received before the pandemic cut in half over the course of more than a year of virtual learning.

In January 2021, the federal education department opened up an investigation into Fairfax schools because of “disturbing reports involving the district’s provision of educational services to children with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.” Asked on Tuesday about the status of the Fairfax investigation, the Education Department’s press office did not have that information readily available.

“They have the ability to do it and they are choosing not to. It’s heartbreaking,” said Tisler, who has had a contentious relationship with the district. In August, her son went back to school in person.

In the first two waves of pandemic aid from the county, state and federal governments, Fairfax schools received at least $157.5 million, of which it spent $9.6 million on direct services for students with disabilities to help them catch up, according to budget documents. Helen Lloyd, a spokesperson for Fairfax County Public Schools, said that much of the initial coronavirus relief funds paid for “systemwide technology, school safety mitigation measures and equipment and PPE costs.” She said it is not possible to calculate the proportion of the funding that paid only for services for students with disabilities.

Lloyd did not specifically address Tisler’s concerns, citing privacy protections, but the spokesperson said that the district’s spending plan was based on extensive community input and that learning loss was found to be a priority. She added that from the third wave of pandemic aid, which passed this year, the district has allocated $46.2 million, which is being used to extend the contracts of special education teachers by 30 minutes a day, and $500,000 to counter learning loss of students with disabilities.

In Texas, the McAllen Independent School District decided to spend $4 million of its education pandemic relief funds to construct a 5-acre outdoor learning environment connected to a local nature and birding center owned by the city. Tory Guerra, whose children attend McAllen’s schools, expressed concerns that the project, which will not be completed until December 2024, is not prioritizing the urgent learning needs of children who have been directly impacted by the pandemic.

“​​There are so many other programs that we could invest in that we could use immediately and see benefits immediately rather than years down the road,” Guerra said. She believes that the federal aid should directly address the pressing emotional and academic wellbeing of students, many of whom have struggled to keep up in the classroom. “Half the kids won’t even get to reap the benefit because the nature center isn’t even built.”

Mark May, a spokesperson for the McAllen independent district, said the cost of the project is a small fraction of the district’s $139.5 million in aid. He said the outdoor space will provide students with resources and experiences that will bolster children’s scientific knowledge.

Some states and districts have developed their own public reporting platforms. In Georgia, the education department built a dashboard that shows how much money each district has received and the programs they have spent it on. But other states have not offered as much visibility into districts’ spending. Indiana, for example, has so far made little information public, but it is currently developing an online portal.

In the provisional federal reports that categorize how aid money is spent, some of the largest districts in the nation marked all of their aid as going to the “other” category, including Los Angeles Unified, which spent $49.5 million, and New York City’s schools, which spent $111.5 million.

Instead of spending the aid on summer school or technology, New York City’s district, the largest in the country, used its federal funds to plug a gap in its budget, which had been cut by the state. Katie O’Hanlon, a spokesperson for the district, told ProPublica that the district used the funds to cover the wages and operations of custodial workers. O’Hanlon said the district had followed state reporting requirements. J.P. O’Hare, a spokesperson for the New York State Education Department, said the state is using the “other” category until the federal government provides more direction on reporting requirements.

Shannon Haber, a spokesperson for Los Angeles Unified, said the district’s reporting was submitted based on the state’s requirements. Many districts categorized their spending as “other” initially, but as the school year progressed, the spending categories diversified, said Scott Roark, a spokesperson for the California Department of Education.

Even if the information is publicly available on a local level, the lack of standardization from state to state makes it impossible to get a national picture of how the funds are being directed.

Some experts said it may be too soon to get a larger view of how the aid was spent. “There’s going to be a natural lag between a district receiving the money, spending the money and reporting up to the state,” said Paige Kowalski, executive vice president for the education advocacy group Data Quality Campaign.

But other experts say that without real-time insight into district spending, schools will not be able to shift priorities if they find certain programs are working better than others.Few Masks. Sick Kids. Packed ERs. How One District’s First Four Weeks of School Went Bad.

“There can be an opportunity to do mid-course corrections, if we find something working well or not well,” said Dan Goldhaber, director of the Center for Education Data & Research at the University of Washington. “We will be in a bad place if we don’t have much evidence that $200 billion didn’t move the needle.”

This past July, the federal Education Department announced plans to increase its data collection from districts in 2022, but dozens of districts and state education agencies said that more oversight could leave them overburdened.

“It will take another block of time,” said Brenda Turner, the business manager of Haskell Consolidated Independent School District in central Texas, adding that her district already filed detailed plans to the state’s education department explaining how Haskell planned to spend its aid. “They need to figure out how to pull it out of their own system to report to the federal government instead of putting it on us.”

The Boston Globe to host Boston Mayoral candidate, Michelle Wu, Suffolk County DA Rachael Rollins, and Emmy-winning director, Stanley Nelson on Black News Hour radio show, Friday October 22nd


BOSTON, Oct. 21, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — The Boston Globe announced today the lineup of guests who will join hosts Jeneé Osterheldt and Meghan Irons on the second episode of the Globe’s Black News Hour radio show, airing this Friday, October 22, 2021 at 8:00-9:00 AM ET.

Tune in Friday, October 22nd @ 8:00AM ET. Live radio broadcast 102.9 FM and livestream at month’s episode will explore what justice means at different levels of government and what it means to truly offer redemption to those who need a second chance. Guests will discuss a wide range of issues including the Boston Mayoral contest, new editorial projects launching later this year, and the Fresh Start initiative, which was announced by the Globe earlier this year. The initiative provides people who have been referenced in past Globe stories the opportunity to request that the work be changed, de-indexed from search engines or updated with new and relevant information, upon review.Featured guests include Boston mayoral candidate Michelle Wu; Suffolk County District Attorney and U.S. Attorney Nominee, Rachael Rollins; and Emmy-winning director, Stanley Nelson, who will discuss his new documentary, ATTICA. Nelson was recently awarded the 2021 Filmmaker Fund Award by the Globe’s annual GlobeDocs Film Festival, an award and grant which supports visionary work in the field of documentary filmmaking.Listeners can tune in live on 102.9FM and via livestream from the show’s homepage at For more information, visit and sign up for the Black News Hour newsletter. Listeners and viewers are invited to submit questions and ideas directly to the Globe’s team here.