Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Sorting Out the Education Stimulus

The $787 billion stimulus package includes $100 billion for education—an unprecedented amount.

The roller coaster of the past few weeks has been crazy. Governor Paterson called for $9 billion in state spending cuts in December, including $700+ million in education cuts. Then in late January, Mayor Bloomberg announced a $4 billion city budget deficit and threatened 15,000 teacher layoffs. Now that the political theater’s climax has been reached and the stimulus has passed, New York State schools will see increased rather than decreased education funding. According to The Times:

“The $2.5 billion the state is expected to receive to restore education cuts…more than cover[s] the $770 million in reductions the governor had called for.”
Senator Chuck Schumer says, “Any way you slice it, this bill is great for New York.” A pot this big will not only stabilize school budgets but also will change education in profound ways.

UPDATE: But not so fast! The drama continues. No one seems to really know fully how the stimulus is going to be spent. See here for the New York City politicking and here for an inside look at Ed Secretary Duncan's hothouse.

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