May 29th, 2009
04:59 PM ET
14 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. Blake

    That's what these long time socialist institutions deserve, right conservatives?

    Every school should be a private school owned by business owners where you have to pay for education, right conservatives?

    Because we hate socialism in this country, right conservatives?

    While we're at it, let's get rid of those dirty socialist police, EMT and fire departments. You should have to pay every time you use those services too, right conservatives?

    Because in America, we're capitalists 100%

    May 29, 2009 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  2. Tom in CA

    Arnold will suck it up to reduce the $24.6B deficit that the state faces!

    The schools won't see any of it – the accountants will make it so, and the feds will accept their accounting that the money went to the schools!

    Where's Gray Davis when we need him?

    May 29, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  3. arithmetic is liberal

    Send it to CA and EARMARK IT so Ah-nuld can't get his grubby little hands on it.

    May 29, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  4. John

    Maybe it just is too simple. Economy goes into recession. Tax revenues dry up. Teachers get laid off. Children suffer.

    Stimulus plugs short term gap. Economy grows again. Tax revenues grow. States and communities can again fund their schools. Children benefit.

    May 29, 2009 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  5. Simmy

    I hope they speed it up on the money.....Some teachers' jobs are on the line.....They should have been first in line to receive help.....I understand that the administration officials want to be careful about sending out finances, but considering how WALL STREET got help in a micro minute, they have got to do a better job......Everything will be alright......We need to have more faith and patience.....

    May 29, 2009 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  6. DLHanna

    It's not Obama's fault that the stimulus money doesn't seem to be working, it's your state governor who is slowing the process. If your governor doesn't want to follow the rules with the money, then your state won't receive it. If your mayor didn't do his/her part in stressing your town's needs, then it won't appear to be working. Was i the only one paying attention when the stimulus rules were being finalized?

    May 29, 2009 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  7. skyhawkdriver

    What the head dimwitocrat obama isn't telling everyone is that the stimulus money for education can not be used for teacher salaries..another thing is that if a program in a school is started using stimulus money and then the money runs out the school district is required by federal law to continue the program or face a lawsuit..this whole program is a sham and it's sole intention is more control over how children are taught..does everyone remember outcome based education???..this is known as socialism...of course the teachers unions are mad about this because they all thought they were getting big raises..and this after they contributed millions to elect odumbo

    May 29, 2009 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  8. Pat, CA

    WhoCares? May 29th, 2009 5:53 pm ET
    When people become educated…they run as fast as they can from the Republican Party.
    Quite to the contrary, truly educated people run as fast as they can from the Democrat Party! Educated people have learned to think and act for themselves, rather than follow an empty dogma of dependency! There is NO joy in being owned by government! There is NO incentive to succeed where government makes the rules. Folks do NOT come to America to be slaves to the government. They come here to succeed on their OWN merit - and THAT is true success and happiness!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 29, 2009 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  9. Tatianna

    Unbelievable, you continue the blame Bush mantra. When will dems take and accept responsibilty. When something positive happens you praise Obama. When something negative happens you blame it on Bush. It doesnt take much to be a dem. Its the most effortless and gutless one can do in their lifetime. Im still waiting on Obama to heal the planet, recede the oceans and bring world peace n harmony. Oh, and when will Air Farce One drop manna to feed the hungry.

    May 30, 2009 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
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