School districts across the country received welcome news recently that desperately-needed cash flow will arrive a few crucial weeks sooner than expected.
The news came just as officials are busy with eleventh-hour hiring and planning for the upcoming school year, and will save jobs and programs that might otherwise have been cut.
The Department of Education will release $11.37 billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds one month earlier than originally scheduled to help save jobs and drive reform, according to a press release issued August 3. Most of the money will go specifically to schools that have high concentrations of students from families who live in poverty in order to help improve teaching and learning for students most at risk of failing to meet state academic achievement standards. The remainder will be used to implement innovative strategies to improve outcomes for infants, toddlers, children and youths with disabilities, while stimulating the economy.
The Department awarded 50 percent of each state’s share of ARRA funds in April. The remaining 50 percent, or $11.37 billion, was to be made available on September 30. The new timeline ensures the funds will be made available to all states on or around September 1. The move was most likely the result of school officials’ pleas as they struggled with financial planning and filling budget gaps for the upcoming school year. As a result of the change, school officials can avoid cuts and layoffs and enjoy greater flexibility as they make decisions about the future and work to improve education and implement innovative strategies for doing so.