Education Secretary Arne Duncan today called the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) a "historic opportunity to create jobs and advance education reform." He credited the "leadership of the President and the Congress in laying groundwork for a generation of education reform and economic opportunity."
Duncan emphasized the urgency of distributing the funds to states on an aggressive timetable in order to avert layoffs. Citing a University of Washington study showing almost 600,000 education jobs at risk of state budget cuts, Duncan said that his office will publish timelines and initial guidance within a week so that states and districts can plan accordingly.
The ARRA provides more than $100 billion in education funding and college grants and tuition tax credits, as well as billions more for school modernization. It includes:
- $40 billion in state stabilization funds to help avert education cuts. Funds will be given to states in exchange for a commitment to begin advancing education reforms. School systems have discretion to use some of this money for school modernization.
- $13 billion for Title I, including $3 billion for Title I school improvement programs.
- $12 billion for Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) programs.
- $5 billion in incentive grants to be distributed on a competitive basis to states that most aggressively pursue higher standards, quality assessments, robust data systems and teacher quality initiatives. This includes $650 million to fund school systems and non-profits with strong track records of improving student achievement.
- $5 billion for Early Childhood, including Head Start, early Head Start, child care block grants, and programs for infants with disabilities. (Includes Department of Health and Human Services programs).
- $2 billion for other education investments, including pay for performance, data systems, teacher quality investments, technology grants, vocational rehab, work study, and Impact Aid.
College Affordability $30.8 Billion:
- $17 billion to close the shortfall in the Pell Grant program and boost grant amounts by $500 to $5350 in the first year and more in the second year, serving an estimated 7 million low and moderate-income young people and adults.
- $13.8 billion to boost the tuition tax credit from $1800 to $2500 for families earning up to $180,000.
Additional School Modernization (up to) $33.6 Billion:
- An additional $8.8 billion in state stabilization funds are available for other state services including education. School modernization is an eligible use of this funding.
- Authority for states and school systems to issue $24.8 billion dollars in bonds over the next 10 years for renovation, repairs and school construction that will be retired through a combination of local, state and federal dollars.
"These investments are the surest way to provide long-term stability in to our economy," Duncan said. "With these funds, we will educate our way to a stronger economy."