Schools Will Feel Boost From Stimulus ASHA members in school-based settings could benefit from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the $787 billion package of tax breaks and spending that is intended to preserve jobs and stimulate the national economy. But time is of the essence—members should move quickly to try to learn about the ... School Matters
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School Matters  |   May 01, 2009
Schools Will Feel Boost From Stimulus
Author Notes
  • Neil Snyder, director of federal advocacy, can be reached at nsnyder@asha.org or 800-498-2071, ext. 5614.
    Neil Snyder, director of federal advocacy, can be reached at nsnyder@asha.org or 800-498-2071, ext. 5614.×
Article Information
School-Based Settings / School Matters
School Matters   |   May 01, 2009
Schools Will Feel Boost From Stimulus
The ASHA Leader, May 2009, Vol. 14, 1-9. doi:10.1044/leader.SCM.14062009.1
The ASHA Leader, May 2009, Vol. 14, 1-9. doi:10.1044/leader.SCM.14062009.1
ASHA members in school-based settings could benefit from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the $787 billion package of tax breaks and spending that is intended to preserve jobs and stimulate the national economy. But time is of the essence—members should move quickly to try to learn about the funding streams and advocate for use of eligible funds in their school-based programs (see sidebar). Half of federal funds for key programs were allocated in April and the other half will be distributed in the fall.
Schools—kindergarten through college—will see more than $98 billion in additional federal spending from 2009 through 2012. These funds include additional allocations for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act/No Child Left Behind Act (ESEA/NCLB), student aid (Pell grants and work-study programs), and state education and related stimulus funding.
Members of ASHA and the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association who work or are enrolled in pre-K through college should become familiar with the ARRA funding streams for IDEA and Title I, the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (SFSF) funding stream, and the annual federal appropriations funding stream. All states and most school districts, schools, or special education programs could receive additional funds from all three. ARRA’s IDEA and Title I funds will be distributed to states according to formulas established in those programs to expedite the distribution of funds.
Of the $12.2 million in ARRA funds for IDEA and the $10 billion for Title I, half was released to states in April. The remaining half will become available in late September or early October. Schools may be able to use recovery funds to reinstate positions, return part-time positions to full-time status, or fill open positions; to reinstate reduced or eliminated travel and training budgets; and to provide professional development.
Your school, school district, or state may use recovery funds to purchase equipment or instructional materials. In fact, many educational product vendors are publicizing their products as an eligible use of recovery funds. If you need equipment or products, ask your administrator if they can be purchased with recovery funds. Additional ED guidance on use of funds is expected, but ASHA strongly urges members to make requests to their supervisors and administrators. Go to Recovery.gov or Ed.gov for information and to sign up for e-mail updates.
IDEA
IDEA Part C (birth to 2), Part B Section 619 (ages 3–5), and Part B (ages 5–21) will receive dedicated ARRA funding. The U.S. Department of Education (ED) has directed states to distribute the IDEA funds to local education agencies (LEAs) by the end of April, and urges the LEAs to use the funds “expeditiously” and to obligate the majority of these funds during the current and next school year.
The ED has suggested that these limited-term IDEA recovery funds be used to:
  • Obtain state-of-the-art assistive technology devices and provide training in their use to enhance access to the general curriculum for students with disabilities

  • Provide professional development for special and regular education teachers

  • Develop or expand the capacity to collect and use data to improve teaching and learning

  • Expand the availability and range of inclusive placement options for preschoolers with disabilities

  • Hire transition coordinators to work with employers to develop job placements for youths with disabilities

Title I
ARRA funds for Title I, Part A, also will be distributed to states in two phases: $5 billion in April and the remaining $5 billion in late September or early October. All funds must be obligated by Oct. 1, 2011.
The ED has suggested that these limited-term Title I recovery funds be used to:
  • Make progress toward standards and assessments that are valid and reliable for all students

  • Establish pre-K to college and career data systems that track progress and foster continuous improvement

  • Improve teacher effectiveness and the equitable distribution of qualified teachers for all students

  • Provide intensive support and effective interventions for the lowest-performing schools

  • Establish a system to identify and train highly effective teachers to serve as instructional leaders in Title I programs and to modify the school schedule to allow for instructional staff collaboration

  • In Title I elementary schools in corrective action or restructuring status, establish intensive training for teachers and principals in the use of new reading curricula that improve students’ oral language skills and vocabulary or that build teachers’ capacity to address academic achievement problems

  • Strengthen and expand early childhood education by aligning Title I pre-K programs with state early learning standards and content standards for grades K–3

State Fiscal Stabilization Funds
ARRA State Fiscal Stabilization Funds will be sent to states in two phases. The first phase ($32.5 billion) was distributed in April. The second phase ($16 billion) will be distributed in late September or early October. If, however, phase one funds are insufficient to prevent immediate layoff of personnel by LEAs, state education agencies, or publicly funded institutions of higher education, ED will award the state up to 90% of its allocation in phase one.
ED also has two discretionary funds through the ARRA. The “Race to the Top” fund will award up to $4.5 billion in competitive grants that will help states drive “significant improvement” in student achievement, including progress toward:
  • Increasing teacher effectiveness and addressing inequities in the distribution of highly qualified teachers

  • Establishing and using pre-K to college and career data systems to track progress and foster continuous improvement

  • Establishing rigorous college- and career-ready standards and high-quality assessments

  • Supporting targeted, intensive support and effective interventions in the lowest-performing schools

The “Invest in What Works and Innovation” fund will award up to $650 million in competitive grants to LEAs or nonprofits that have made significant gains in closing achievement gaps to serve as models for best practices.
Annual Appropriations
Signed into law in March, the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009 (P.L. 111-8) funds several federal departments and many agencies through Sept. 30, when the 2009 fiscal year (FY 2009) ends. The law includes $557.7 million for IDEA Part B state grants, a 5.1% increase over 2008. States will receive a total of $23 billion in FY 2009 appropriations and ARRA funds for IDEA during FY 2009.
ESEA Title 1 receives $594 million in the appropriations bill—4.3% more than 2008—for a total appropriation of $14.5 billion in FY 2009. States will receive a total of $24.4 billion in FY 2009 appropriations and ARRA funds for ESEA Title I during FY 2009. Taken together, IDEA and Title I will receive at least $47 billion this year.
Follow the Money

How can ASHA members access ARRA funds for their programs?

ASHA has created a Web page to help members navigate the multiple funding streams—and the rules and regulations that apply to each. Use this information to advocate on the federal, state, and local use of the money.

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May 2009
Volume 14, Issue 6