EDUCATION FEATURED HEAVILY IN ECONOMIC RECOVERY BILL
The House version of a proposed federal American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009 provides more detail than the President's agenda document. The Senate's proposal for this bill is not yet available, but action is expected soon. The proposed House version of the bill (which has not been officially introduced) includes:
$41 billion to local school districts through Title I ($13 billion);
$13 billion to local school districts through IDEA;
$14 billion to local school districts through a new School Modernization and Repair Program;
$1 billion to local school districts through the Education Technology program;
$79 billion to states for fiscal relief to prevent cutbacks to key services, including $39 billion to schools and colleges through existing programs;
$15 billion to states as "bonus grants" as a reward for meeting key performance measures;
$25 billion to states for other high priority needs such as public safety and other critical services, which may include education.
Two key points to remember as you ponder these enormous numbers:
(1) The most critical factor in this bill may not be the amount of funding that comes to states, districts, and schools, but what kind of language is used to describe the "supplement, not supplant" principle. It does not appear that the proposed House version includes any revision or exemption to the existing legal requirements related to this issue.
(2) Remember that the Florida Legislature has already committed at least $700 million in expected federal funding from this bill to repay the Lawton Chiles Endowment Fund for funds borrowed to complete the state's FY09 budget.