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Education Funding

UPDATE Transparency Watch: South Dakota Gets a Gold Star (and Calif. too!)

By Michele McNeil — April 15, 2009 1 min read

The U.S. Department of Education has revealed in their weekly reports updated today that four states—as of April 10—have submitted their applications for the state fiscal stabilization fund. These applications are important because they show a state’s commitments to use the money as intended (to prop up local education budgets) and to make progress on key education reforms.

They are: California, Illinois, Maine, and South Dakota.

In this blog’s continuing efforts to monitor the “unprecedented levels of transparency” surrounding the stimulus package, I’ve tried to get copies of these applications.

Of the four states, only one has put their application online (that I’ve been able to find.) South Dakota. So kudos to the state and Republican Gov. Mike Rounds (since governors are the ones officially submitting these applications.) If you know of any other applications available online, please leave a comment or email me. UPDATE: An eagle-eye reader pointed me to California’s application, which you can find on the state’s department of education Web site here. So make that two states.

It should be noted that Illinois’ lack of transparency, so far, comes even though the state put out a press release, in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Education, touting education secretary Arne Duncan’s visit yesterday to the state and their planned use of stabilization fund dollars. After two calls to the governor’s office over the past two days, a call to the state’s commerce department (which is handling the stimulus package apparently) and an email to the commerce department’s press officer, I still haven’t gotten anybody to email me their application.

The federal education department, for their part, says that although they’ve committed to making approved applications public, they were undecided (as of yesterday) as to whether submitted applications would be public. It seems as though it would be important to see what a state originally promised to do in relation to stabilization fund money, and what ended up being in their “approved” application. Though in many instances the two could be the same thing, that may not always be the case.

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