As federal aid lapses, districts face tough choices
School districts across the country will have to confront fiscal problems and budget gaps in the coming school year made worse by their reliance on federal stimulus money that will no longer be available.
The $787 billion stimulus package includes $100 billion in education aid. Most states have already spent the money or will run out of funds by the end of this school year, according to surveys.
Districts were cautioned on the use of the funds to avoid spending them on recurring expenditures, although the admonitions appeared contrary to the intent of the stimulus bill and even Obama administration boasting about its success.
Some districts heeded the advice and funded one-time expenditures or long-term investments such as purchasing handicapped-accessible vehicles or renovating bathrooms.
Columbia University Professor Michael A. Rebell, one of three at the Teachers College who conducted one of the surveys, called that "a godsend" and "an investment that will last for years."
The article "School budgets" was published on February 9th, 2010 in the "Watertown Daily Times" http://www.watertowndailytimes.com/article/20100209/OPINION01/302099972/-1/opinion
Published Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2010