U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today announced that more than $2.7 billion is being made available early to help states as they face increasing budgetary pressures. This funding represents that last third of the government services fund which was initially scheduled to be made available with the completion of Phase II applications as part of the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. Of this $2.7 billion being distributed early, $2.4 billion will be awarded today to states that have successfully completed Phase I applications and the remaining $316.6 million of the accelerated funds will be awarded in the coming days as the remaining states are approved for Phase I applications.
"To date, the Department has done everything possible to get stimulus funds out the door quickly and effectively, including approving Phase I applications within 10 days," said Duncan. "That is unprecedented speed for a federal department and today we want to take these efforts one step further by making more than $2.7 billion available immediately. This money, which represents the final third of the government services fund, provides maximum flexibility for states to save jobs and drive reform."
State Fiscal Stabilization Funds (SFSF) which total more than $48 billion represent nearly half of the $100 billion set aside for the Department of Education as part of the stimulus bill. The SFSF is intended to augment state education budgets and drive reform. Of the $48 billion available in SFSF, approximately $8 billion is designated as part of a government services fund which is intended to provide states with maximum flexibility in addressing budget shortfalls and is available for education, school modernization, public safety or other government services.