Special Report
Federal

Stimulus Aid: More Questions—and Answers

By Alyson Klein & Michele McNeil — March 10, 2009 3 min read

Education Week Politics K-12 bloggers Alyson Klein and Michele McNeil continue gathering answers to questions on the $115 billion in education aid under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the recent economic-stimulus package. Here are highlights from some of their most recent blog posts. (For previous rounds of questions and answers, see Economic Stimulus Q&A, March 4, 2009.)

Q Has there been any clarification as to whether federal money will be available for independent schools?

A There’s no money in the bill specifically for private or independent schools. But some private schools that serve students in special education do receive funding under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which got about $12 billion in the stimulus.

Any funds left over in the stabilization fund after states “backfill” their education budgets can go to any program authorized under the No Child Left Behind Act (and a number of other federal education laws). That would include Title V of NCLB, which is intended to support innovative programs. Private schools can indirectly benefit.

It’s not yet known what the grant criteria will be for the $625 million in innovations grants. That money can go to nonprofits (which most private schools are) that partner with school districts or with a consortia of schools.

Note: There is a specific prohibition in the bill that says none of the money can go to provide financial assistance to students to attend private elementary or secondary schools. We’re taking that to mean “no vouchers.”

Q Is there anything in the stimulus package to help charter schools?

A Much of the money flows through existing formulas, such as Title I or the IDEA, so any public charter school that benefits now from the formula will get a piece of the stimulus. The stabilization fund is used first to backfill cuts through the state’s school funding formula, so as long as the charter school gets money through the state’s funding formula, it would get money through the stabilization as well. Given the nature of the U.S. Department of Education’s innovation fund, it’s likely charter schools would be good candidates as well.

Charter schools may also be eligible for school bonding monies, including an expanded New Markets Tax Credit, which charter schools have already tapped.

Q Regarding special education, do you know of any accommodations for “maintenance of effort” that would allow districts to use the money to pay for programs that already exist?

A (Thanks to Education Week’s Christina A. Samuels, the author of the On Special Education blog, for answering this question.) The maintenance-of-effort provisions that currently exist within the idea will apply to stimulus funds. That means that a district can’t take all of its stimulus money and use that to pay for current special education programs.

There is, however, some flexibility in the “supplement, not supplant” provisions under the 2004 reauthorization of the idea. If the federal government allocates more money to a district from one year to the next, the district is allowed to take the difference between the two allocations, halve it, and use that figure to reduce its own funding requirements. So, if a district received $1 million in federal funds for one fiscal year, and $1.5 million the next fiscal year, the district is allowed to reduce its local funding requirements by $250,000.

But it’s also important to note there are other ways to use stimulus money without expanding programs and without having to maintain that effort when the money disappears. For example, a one-time expenditure on educational technology wouldn’t be a program expansion and wouldn’t be subject to maintenance of effort.

A version of this article appeared in the March 11, 2009 edition of Education Week as Stimulus Aid: More Questions—and Answers

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Culturally Relevant Pedagogy to Advance Educational Equity
Schools are welcoming students back into buildings for full-time in-person instruction in a few short weeks and now is the perfect time to take a hard look at both our practices and systems to build
Content provided by PowerMyLearning
Classroom Technology Webinar Making Big Technology Decisions: Advice for District Leaders, Principals, and Teachers
Educators at all levels make decisions that can have a huge impact on students. That’s especially true when it comes to the use of technology, which was activated like never before to help students learn
Professional Development Webinar Expand Digital Learning by Expanding Teacher Training
This discussion will examine how things have changed and offer guidance on smart, cost-effective ways to expand digital learning efforts and train teachers to maximize the use of new technologies for learning.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Federal How Political Backlash to Critical Race Theory Reached School Reopening Guidance
A lawmaker wants Miguel Cardona to repudiate the Abolitionist Teaching Network after federal COVID-19 documents referenced the group's work.
6 min read
Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., is seen at a press conference at the U.S. Capitol on March 9, 2021 in Washington.
Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., is seen at a press conference at the U.S. Capitol on March 9, 2021 in Washington.<br/>
Graeme Sloan/SIPA USA via AP
Federal Biden Team: Schools Can Go Beyond Trump Rules in Response to Alleged Sexual Misconduct
The Education Department's guidance, released July 20, states that Title IX rules from 2020 lay out "minimum steps" for educators.
3 min read
Symbols of gender.
iStock/Getty
Federal Fact Check: After Furor Over 1619 Project, Feds Adjust History and Civics Grant Plans
A previously obscure history and civics program has weathered a political storm, but what exactly has changed?
4 min read
Education secretary nominee Miguel Cardona speaks during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on his nomination on Feb. 3, 2021, in Washington.
Education secretary nominee Miguel Cardona speaks during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on his nomination on Feb. 3, 2021, in Washington.
Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times via AP
Federal 'Stop CRT' Bill, Votes in Congress Add to Political Drama Over Critical Race Theory
Sen. Tom Cotton's legislation and votes about critical race theory in the House underscore the issue's potency in Washington.
5 min read
Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., speaks during a hearing to examine United States Special Operations Command and United States Cyber Command in review of the Defense Authorization Request for fiscal year 2022 and the Future Years Defense Program, on Capitol Hill, Thursday, March 25, 2021, in Washington.
Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., speaks during a hearing on Capitol Hill March 25 in Washington.
Andrew Harnik/AP