Squeezing It Dry

September 28, 2011 | By Thompson Education | Post a Comment

(This post originally appeared on Title I-Derland, Thompson’s blog on federal K-12 education and was written by Chuck Edwards, senior executive director for Thompson’s education products.) The Obama administration is squeezing the 2009 stimulus to get every possible job out of it.

Acting Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education Michael Yudin yesterday [Sept. 21] invited states with soon-to-expire FY 2009 funds to apply for a one-year extension to obligate any money they might have left under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The waiver would apply not only to the 2009 stimulus funds but also the regular 2009 appropriations for ESEA programs. These grants are due to expire Sept. 30, 2011; the waiver would bump the deadline to Sept. 30, 2012.

Although Yudin cited the desirability of using any still-remaining funds to continue education reforms initiated with stimulus money, he strongly encouraged grantees to hire and retain personnel and added, “It would be unfortunate if grant recipients and sub-recipients terminate employees or postpone hiring when there are FY 2009 funds that could be used to keep personnel employed.”

In the normal course of things, most states and local educational agencies would have obligated most of their FY 2009 funds by now, but the huge influx of stimulus money led to a higher-than-normal amount of carryover this year, a fact that prompted ED to alert states about their unobligated balances a month ago.

With his just-proposed new stimulus package being dismissed by Republicans as a campaign document, not a serious proposal, it appears that Obama wants to make the most out of the jobs money he got in less contentious times — when Democrats ruled both chambers of Congress.

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