From the U.S. Department of Education…
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan last week announced that the Department will accelerate stimulus spending by making $11.37 billion in Title I, IDEA, and Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) funding, as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), available to states one month early to help save jobs and drive reform.
“The President and I directed the Cabinet to find ways to pick up the pace of Recovery Act implementation, and I applaud this critical step forward by the Department of Education,” said Vice President Biden. “With over 30,000 Recovery Act projects already approved nationwide and billions in relief flowing to hard-hit families and businesses, we’ve made a lot of progress in a short time – but we continue to focus every day on finding ways to ramp up our efforts to put Americans back to work and rebuild our economy.”
“After accelerating the release of $2.7 billion in Government Services funds earlier this month, we are now announcing another $11.37 billion in Title I, IDEA and VR funds that will be released early to help states and districts expedite stimulus spending,” said Secretary Duncan.
On April 1, 2009 the Department awarded 50 percent of each state’s Title I ARRA funds, 50 percent of each state’s IDEA ARRA funds, and 50 percent of each state’s VR ARRA funds. The remaining 50 percent, or $11.37 billion, was to be made available on September 30. Last week’s announcement will move up that timeline and ensure that these funds are made available to all states on or around September 1.
The early release of these funds comes on the heels of Department’s publication earlier last week of the proposed requirements for approximately $12.6 billion in Phase 2 State Fiscal Stabilization Funds and $4 billion in Race to the Top competitive grants. In addition, the Department earlier last week also invited applications for $250 million in statewide longitudinal data systems competitive grants and released $650 million in Educational Technology funds.
“At the Department, we are doing everything possible to prevent spending decisions from being made in silos and we encourage states and districts to do the same,” said Secretary Duncan.
The $5 billion in Title I funding being made available early will go to local educational agencies (LEAs) for schools that have high concentrations of students from families that live in poverty in order to help improve teaching and learning for students most at risk of failing to meet state academic achievement standards. These funds create an unprecedented opportunity for educators to implement innovative strategies in Title I schools that improve education for at-risk students and close the achievement gaps while also stimulating the economy.
The $6.1 billion in IDEA funding being made available early will provide an unprecedented opportunity for states, LEAs and early intervention service providers to implement innovative strategies to improve outcomes for infants, toddlers, children and youths with disabilities, while stimulating the economy. The $270 million in VR funding being made available early will provide state VR agencies an opportunity to further improve employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities, especially those with the most significant disabilities.