Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has billions in state-stabilization funding burning a hole in his pocket. And he’s urging states to apply to pick up their checks before he runs out and spends the cash on extra-long suits and a basketball court for 400 Maryland Ave.
In all seriousness, it sounds like the Education Department is getting a little antsy. After all, the $32.6 billion in state-stabilization money available in the first round was intended to be sent out quickly to help save jobs, stimulate the economy, and restore school programs that might be on the chopping block.
But, according to a statement the department released this morning, just under $13 billion of that money has been allocated.
So far, it has gone to 13 states: California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New York, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, and Wisconsin. Puerto Rico and another nine states have applied: Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington.
Put another way, of the 52 applications that need to be submitted, 29 remain outstanding.
Note that the states in arguably the most dire fiscal straits—California, Florida, and Nevada—are among those that have received their funds. The stragglers include some states in comparatively good financial shape, such as Texas and Wyoming.
So is lack of need the main reason some states are taking their time? That’s possible, but hard to imagine in most cases.