Nationwide, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provides $13 billion in Title I funds, which helps low-income students, and $13.5 billion in IDEA funds, which helps students with disabilities. This is the first of two installments of direct funding for Title I and IDEA programs that school districts will receive under President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act; the second installment of funds will be released to districts in the fall of this year.
“This is great news for the students, teachers, and families of Deep South Texas” Congressman Hinojosa said. “The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act promised to bring relief to our communities and this announcement is further proof that help is on the way. These funds are going to be put to work in our schools quickly and they will help protect jobs, improve schools, and support our families.”
In addition to the Title I and IDEA investments, the economic recovery plan also created a state stabilization fund to help stabilize state and local budgets and restore harmful cuts to education. States can also now apply for this funding. The Obama administration also issued guidelines on the use of these funds and what role states, school districts, and colleges and universities play in determining what the priorities are for funding.
The guidelines confirm that while states allocate the funds, it should be up to local school districts and colleges and universities to decide how to use this emergency aid, not up to states. The guidelines also reaffirmed that state stabilization funds should be used for three goals: to backfill harmful cuts to elementary and secondary education and higher education, to stave off teacher layoffs, and to modernize school facilities – which could create new jobs. State stabilization funds can be used for any purpose allowable under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, including school modernization.
IDEA is the major federal program that provides funding for special education and related services to students with disabilities. The Title I program provides funds to low-income school districts that are in even greater need during the economic downturn. The funds appropriated through the Recovery Plan are distributed through the previously defined IDEA and Title I formulas.