Friday, June 12, 2009

Washington schools to get some of stimulus

Washington schools to get some of stimulus
May 27th, 2009 by Niki Sullivan | Filed under Uncategorized.

Washington schools will get $672 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act — aka the federal stimulus package — $331 million will be available this fall, according to a release sent out by the U.S. Secretary of Education, Anne Duncan.

That dwarfs the $194 million the state has received for education from the stimulus package so far.

The state plans to use all of the money in 2009 for elementary and secondary schools. In 2010, they’ll use most for elementary and secondary schools and about $100 million for public institutions of higher education.

According to the announcement, the additional funding comes after successfully completing the first portion of the state application.

“The $672 million Washington will receive today is part of the single largest boost in education funding in recent history,” Duncan said in the release. She said the state can use the money to “save jobs and lay the groundwork for a generation of education reform.”

To get the money, the state had to make a few promises. Gov. Chris Gregoire and state schools superintendent Randy Dorn signed the application, which you can read here, promising that they’d hold funding for elementary education at 2006 levels or above through fiscal year 2011. In 2006, the state spent $5.4 billion on education. In 2009, the budget is $6.5 billion — so education would have to get cut quite a bit to fall to 2006 levels.

They also pledged to “collect, publish, analyze and act on basic information regarding the quality of classroom teachers, annual student improvements, college readiness, the effectiveness of state standards and assessments, progress on removing charter caps and interventions in turning around underperforming schools.” And they must report back on how many jobs are saved by the boost and/or the amount of tax increases avoided.

One interesting thing about the application: Included in it (Attachment A, Section 4) is a program Gregoire ended up vetoing. The program would have directed funding to low-income areas for all-day kindergarten. She said at the time of the veto that all children deserved all-day kindergarten.

There’s also a part at the end that I don’t quite understand — it looks like some of the money for higher education may go toward reducing the tuition increase… Stay tuned.

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