May 29th, 2009
04:59 PM ET
9 years ago

Education stimulus money moving out, many local districts in limbo

WASHINGTON (CNN) - As education stimulus funds continue flowing, reaching 22 of the 50 states so far, Education Secretary Arne Duncan on Friday described the situation as an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for schools.

"You have leadership from the top, you have congressional support, you have great ideas and, lastly, and not insignificantly, we have some real resources," Duncan said at a news conference.

But the flow hasn't been fast enough for some local school districts that need to know soon what kind of cuts they will need to make in the next school year.

The Education Department has allocated $18 billion from the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Massachusetts and Washington were the latest states to be notified, on Wednesday, that they were to receive the funds.

The money is supposed to be used to save jobs and enact reforms in education.

The governor's office in each state determines how the money will be spent within school districts.

A week ago, the North Carolina's governor's office received word from the U.S. Department of Education that a billion dollars in stimulus money was headed its way.

Dempsey Benton, director of the Office of Economic Recovery and Investment in North Carolina said, "We are pleased with the responsiveness and rapid turnaround we have experienced in working with the staff of the U.S. Department of Education in applying for these crucial recovery funds."

But on the same day, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District in North Carolina notified 304 of its teachers that they were being recommended for dismissal as the district tries to reduce its budget for the 2009-2010 school year.

As in school districts across the United States, administrators working on the budget plans for the next school year haven't yet gotten a complete picture of their funding.

In Charlotte - where education dollars come from federal, state and local governments - officials don't know how much of the federal money will be allocated for their district. And, although the funds could save the jobs of some who received their notices Friday, they also may be needed just to avoid further staff cuts.

Maurice Ambler, head of human resources for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school district, described the situation: "From now until the opening of schools in August, we are in a period of great flux."

Filed under: Education
soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. The Broker.

    Limbo? What did you expect. You elected a Bimbo...

    May 29, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  2. The Party of NO is only “pro-life” so they will be able to kill the “babies” 18 years later as soldiers in an elective religious war.

    Yes, Pompadour Perry the wannabe President of the Lone State of Texas, has cut education funds by 18% and vows to veto adding 80,000 kids to expanded SCHIP.

    So, according to DMN today, people are quitting their minimum wage jobs and/or getting divorces so they can get health care for their kids.

    Now, that is "christian family values" we can believe in!

    And what was the noise about same sex marriages wrecking the "santity" of marriage.

    Looks like Pompadour Perry has single handedly proved that argument wrong!

    May 29, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  3. Brian in AZ

    "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for schools", Mr. Duncan? We all know you want this sort of thing to continue Day after Day. Your administration wants local schools to be reined in...put under the full control (fiscal and regulatory) of the federal government. That's why "leadership from the top" and "congressional support" are so important to you.

    Local schools should be supported by the people around them. This period of struggle would, if you hadn't thrown cash at the problem, would have helped galvinize local support for schools. Now parents don't need to worry: the federal gov't will take care of it. Hey, let's delegate ALL funding to the federal government. Then we can just send the kids off in the morning, sit at home living off welfare, and welcome our kids back in the afternoon–ready and willing to speak doublespeak.

    Just forget everything written in the bill of rights about local and state govenance. Just forget everything. Ninth and Tenth amendments are typos. That's all. Typos.

    May 29, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  4. I am Newt's ex wife

    I beg to differ.

    When I see the conservative GOP mantra get on here and rant about Obama, I am simply amazed that they think Obama could turn around ALL these problems in a mere six months when it was created over several years. It is hypocritical of them (as usual) to blame this on anyone who has been on a job less than six months.

    The GOP has never held education very high....never been willing to spend any money on children.

    At least Obama is trying to help.....Bush just rode his bicycle and took two years of vacation on the job..........useless. Don't get on Obama's back, give the guy a chance

    May 29, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  5. zalgo

    I guess theres nothing that can be benefitted yet by taking over and socializing the schools. When the kids need to be reprogrammed by the New Regime they will get their "lottery card".

    May 29, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  6. Biased

    I find it hard to comprehend why the stimulus bill had to be signed before anyone could read it yet funds are still not flowing and less than half the states even know what to expect. And what kind of a stimulus is it when almost half the money won't getdoled out til next year?

    May 29, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  7. Matt in MN

    And what happens in 1-2 years to these schools, when their additional federal funding that they received from the stimulus plan runs out?

    May 29, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  8. The Broker.

    Maybe! Another King: another revolustion?

    May 29, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  9. Enough

    Education stimulus is stimulating what?? Here in California they are still cutting teachers. But they wouldn't dare cut the free school lunch program. Taxpayers gotta feed all those illegals. This stimulus spending is a bunch of baloney we the taxpayers were force fed!

    May 29, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  10. phoenix86

    The name "Bimbo" seems to be more appropriate to "The Broker"!

    May 29, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  11. SLM

    The facts are starting to come out, all this stimulus spending is creating TEMPORARY jobs and benefits, but the debt payback will be PERMANENT!! Stop the Spending spree in Washington..............No incumbents in 2010. Wake up Democrats, nobody is going to take care of you, it is up to you. Sorry to burst your hopeful little bubble. Some say we elected Bimbo, I think maybe it's DUMBO!

    May 29, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  12. Addison

    Schools should start cutting sports. Our young people sure know how to kick a ball but don't know how to spell. So many parents think their little darlings are the next super-heros and their son/daughter can support themselves with a nice multi-million dollar contract. We need to get our heads out of the clouds and start promoting good ethics for a change.

    May 29, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  13. The money will be gone quickly....

    and then teacher layoffs will begin and schools will be closed.

    California is bankrupt and other states will follow. Education and welfare will be hit hard.

    May 29, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  14. WhoCares?

    GOP is anathema to Education. The only reason you would ever vote Republican is due to being either part of the rich elite or uneducated.

    When people become educated...they run as fast as they can from the Republican Party.

    May 29, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  15. Everett

    I've attended many school board meetings and everyone would rather cut new books than to skip purchasing new footballs. It's no wonder our kids of today don't know crap.

    May 29, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  16. SLM

    Who cares? You are dead wrong Bud. The only reason to vote Democrat is because you are too lazy to get off your butt and earn your own living. You want the government to take care of you. What's the matter can't take care of yourself? Take a look at the Democratic party and you will find it true. What entitles you to someones hard earned money?

    May 29, 2009 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  17. Enough

    If the illegals that the taxpayers are paying for were removed from our school system there would be no overcrowding. Why should we pay for their education, health care, incarceration, uninsured motorist to protect our cars, Babies being popped like popcorn? That my friends would solve all of California's education problems as well as solving the budget crisis. We spend Billions every year paying for Illegals.

    May 29, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  18. Pepper from CA

    In California the stimulus money was one of the things that saved teachers jobs. People think that CA is bankrupt because we spend too much on services such as the poor and children. It was the sub-prime loans that hurt tax collections. The GOP here in CA voted against raising taxes on the wealthy and luxury yachts and instead voted to cut education. So in addition to the stimulus $$ many teachers have now taken pay cuts so that all teachers can have jobs and class sizes will not grow to 35-50 students. The props failed because the average CA person has been taxed to death. It's business and the wealthy who are using loopholes to not pay taxes.

    May 29, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  19. Mac

    @Brian in AZ
    The public schools in this country have always relied heavily on the federal government for funding (this nation is not a confederacy), just like almost every other country in the industrialized world . Also the curriculium and policies of these schools are not being affected in any way by this money. SO please stop with the paranoia and conspiracy theories. If there is anything this country needs it is a better education system so our kids don't turn out like uneducated morons such as you.

    May 29, 2009 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  20. Sniffit

    @ Enough, who said "Taxpayers gotta feed all those illegals."

    Kudos. You win today's xenophobe award...a free trip to Oxaca.

    May 29, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  21. Mac

    @ Zalgo

    The schools in this country are already 'socialized' just like police, firefighters, the military, the post office, the transportation system (all of the roads you drive on are paid for with public money) etc..
    Would you prefer that we had to all pay a monthly fee for privitized firefighters (think how hard it would be to get a private firefighting company to cover a rural area) or maybe we could choose to pay a company for police service (if you don't pay then they wouldn't protect you)

    My point is that EVERYTHING that is paid for by government money is "Socialized" that IS the definition of the word. So you don't have to worry your tiny brain about the public school system in this country 'getting socialized' because it already happened a couple hundred years ago.

    May 29, 2009 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  22. Republicans are the American Taliban

    With eight years of No Child Left Behind why aren't we pumping out rocket scientists left and right? Bush started that demented program in Texas as how come the education system there doesn't top everyone else in the nation? Because it's the same failure as " trickle down economics ".

    May 29, 2009 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  23. Mac

    LOL!! Reading the comments by some of you conservatives make me realize why you are so against funding education in the country.
    You want the whole nation to be as ignorant as you guys are so you won't feel bad about being so F-ing stupid. lol..

    May 29, 2009 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  24. The Party of NO is only “pro-life” so they will be able to kill the “babies” 18 years later as soldiers in an elective religious war.


    Were you born that stupid or have you graduated from limbaugh lemmings U?

    No one but the lemmings, and only then because the messiah said it was so, thought the stimulus jobs were permanent.

    The stimulus jobs are supposed to be temporary in duration, and not paid brain surgeons, but work that would improve the infrastructure and keep folks off the unemployment rolls until the recession eases and businesses begin hiring again.

    In other words, you can have your opinion but not "your" set of facts..

    May 29, 2009 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  25. Mike Dallas


    You make a good point. If all the unnecessary extra-curricular activities were ditched and the savings invested in new books and teachers, our international educational standing may not be the disgrace that is today.

    May 29, 2009 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
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