The U-S Department of Education today reported that the $67- Billion in federal stimulus money it has spent so far saved or created some four hundred thousand jobs – nationally.
The U-S Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said today that the stimulus money not only put people to work, but helped schools around the country stay afloat.
What we really tried to do is stave off an education catastrophe here. And i think it would’ve been an absolute national disaster had these funds not been available, keep teachers in the classroom, keep education support staff working with students which is critically needed, and keep education reform moving forward, Talk so much about this is not a time to take steps backward, we have to push extraordinarily hard to get dramatically better and do it with a real sense of urgency.
Alaska has also seen results, and in a report released today (Monday) by the state’s Department of Education and Early Development, more than ninety people are working in local schools in jobs that would not have existed without the federal assistance. The boost came through the $35- Billion dollar State Fiscal Stabilization Fund — of which Alaska schools stand to receive $93-million.
Paul Prussing – Deputy Director of Teaching and Learning Support — says Alaska has received and started distributing two thirds of that money. He says local schools basically have kept the jobs filled by advancing money from their own resources in anticipation of the federal funds. He says that so far, applications from twenty one school districts have been approved and thirteen are still under review, being worked on by the Department to finish the first step. Prussing says the rest aren’t losing anything, they have until 2011 to apply.
It is an open application and many districts are being very thoughtful and really making sure that it’s a public process in applying for these funds and some districts were able to move that process along a little faster than others. And that’s why I think we have some that are still out there, they’re still going through the public process.
When the legislature approved receiving the stimulus money earlier this year, lawmakers made it clear to school leaders that the state would not replace the federal money when the stimulus program runs out. Prussing says that, so far, applicants have understood that and are treating the money as one-time grants.
Districts are going to do the best they can with them during the time that they have these funds. Then two years from now, they’ll adjust accordingly. And hopefully they’ll either identify some other funding streams, other grant opportunities will come up, or just through people retiring.
Prussing says he expects the application process for the final third of the federal funds to open within a matter of weeks with final approval and distribution anticipated some time in the Spring.