U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan just announced how states and school districts can begin receiving the first installment of education stimulus funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).
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Edweek.org is hosting an Open House through April 8, so you can get this type of breaking news and access to all of the vital coverage posted recently on the stimulus. Some highlights you won't want to miss while access is totally FREE:
- States Eye Education Stimulus to Fill Budget Gaps
Local officials are crying ‘foul’ as a growing number of governors make a play for federal economic-stimulus aid for schools.
- Stimulus Providing Big Funding Boost for Early Childhood
Advocates are betting that the billions of dollars for programs like Head Start are just a “down payment” on future expansion.
- K-12 Taking Primacy in Use of Stimulus Dollars
Many states are targeting the new education aid at elementary and secondary schools, rather than toward higher education.
- Exclusive Video Interview: Duncan on States That Reject Stimulus Money
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan talked with Education Week about the stimulus, school reform, teacher issues, and his pick for deputy.
For complete coverage and to keep fully up-to-the-minute, visit our Schools and the Stimulus page. Stay easily updated on all of the stimulus news: download the Stimulus widget and place it on your Web site, blog, Facebook page, or other personal page. Or get the RSS feed on the stimulus.In addition to digging into the stimulus, you should also visit our annual report on how well states are incorporating technology into their schools, Technology Counts 2009: Breaking Away From Tradition: E-Education Expands Opportunities for Raising Achievement. Read about the latest research on e-education, find out how to search the internet for quality content, see how your state compares nationally, and download your state report.
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Highlights, edited slightly for brevity are below. Looks like a rehab of Schenley High School is very possible and able to be justified fully.
- significantly more spending flexibility on school construction than many administrators had expected.
- Unveiling the first payments at a school in Capitol Heights, Md.
- funding could be a once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon.
- to invest significantly in best practices and scale up what works
- stabilization funds used to backfill cuts,
- allows districts to spend funds on new school construction. Lawmakers had opposed funding for school construction during the drafting of the $787 billion stimulus package, which President Barack Obama signed into law in February.
- “[School construction] has the potential to eat up a lot of these funds, particularly for states that don’t have severe funding shortages,” said Vic Klatt, a lobbyist with the Washington firm Van Scoyoc Associates, who previously served as the staff director for Republicans on the House education committee. “People who are hoping a lot of this money will go for education reform activities may be a little disappointed.”
- “In an urban district, if 30 percent of your schools are not [meeting testing benchmarks] and ... all your teachers are doing well on your evaluations, that’s going to be embarrassing.”
- connect student-achievement data to individual teachers,
- track students from high school through college graduation.
- Some states prohibit the sharing of data across systems for privacy purposes.
- more flexibility than anticipated to use money on school construction. The completed bill permitted districts to undertake modernization and repairs.
- Districts may spend on any activities authorized under the No Child Left Behind Act and other statues—including the federal impact-aid program, which authorizes funds for building new schools.
- Secretary Duncan said the interpretation offers districts the flexibility to work on construction projects that fit local needs. “There’s a need there—there’s a need to do renovation and rehabilitation,” he said. “You have areas that are significantly overcrowded, and children jammed into buildings. That doesn’t work.”
- ... spend tens of billions in taxpayers’ money on virtually anything—including new school construction,
- Districts can use the impact-aid authority to pay down past debt
- a state may not limit how a local district uses its share of the stimulus money.
- “While states allocate the funds, it should be up to local school districts and colleges and universities to decide how to use this emergency aid, not states,” the statement released by his office says.
- States do have discretion in deciding how to spend money in the $8.8 billion Government Services Fund, which can be used for “public safety and other government services,” including assistance for K-12 or higher education, as well as to support administrative costs associated with implementing reporting requirements.
- any states playing “shell games” with stimulus spending would disqualify themselves for future funding. He singled out the $4.35 billion in discretionary money he has dubbed the “Race to the Top” fund.