Though the Department of Education hasn’t released stimulus guidance officially to the media, ed officials apparently sent some important stimulus information to other folks late yesterday afternoon that details how a big chunk of the $100 billion in education stimulus money will flow. These documents made their way to Politics K-12. We’ll keep you posted when we hear something more officially.
But in the meantime, a quick scan of this apparent guidance reveals some important policy choices—and logistical decisions—the Ed Department has made. First, a state won’t get all of its stabilization funds at once. Instead, 67 percent will go out within two weeks of a state submitting its application. The rest won’t go out until the department has approved the state’s plan to comply with the law’s assurances that states take steps to increase teacher quality, build better data systems, improve standards and assessments, and turn around failing schools.
Also, it looks like 50 percent of Title I funds and special education funds will be available by the end of March.
Interestingly, the guidance goes out of its way to emphasize that this is short-term money, and that districts and states should use it for shorter-term investments, so there isn’t a “funding cliff”. But on the flip side, the guidance makes clear that the stimulus funds’ goals are to help create or maintain jobs. (Those two priorities seem in conflict, since hiring or keeping a teacher is more of a long-term investment.)