Spotlight On Stimulus Series - Stimulus 101 September 15 2009

In this era of slashed education budgets, the federal stimulus funding program is top priority. I find that as more information becomes available, the more questions I have as I struggle to understand the proposed impact of these funds.

The Spotlight on Stimulus Series is designed to give teachers basic information as well as take some of the mystery out of gaining access to these funds. Following posts in this series will include information regarding funds for Special Education services, Title I and applying for federal grants.

First, a brief overview:

ARRA

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is a program to stimulate the economy in the short-term and invest in education in the long-term.

Because the ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) recently passed, $10 million is now or will be available to fund programs under Title I. This funding allows educators to purchase materials for academically at-risk student populations while stimulating the economy.

The funds are distributed according to four principles:

  • Save and create jobs
  • Improvement student achievement through school improvement and reform
  • Ensure transparency, reporting, and accountability
  • Invest one-time ARRA funds thoughtfully to minimize the “funding cliff”

How Can Teachers Access These Funds?

This was my first question. After researching for hours upon hours, the ways to obtain these funds are murky at best, but I did come up with a few tips to get started.

Federal Level

The U.S Department of Education has a webpage of basic information.  Here you can find more general information concerning the ARRA, as well as funds designated by state. There is an RSS feed button at the top of the page (near the headline) which will help you keep track of the latest information at this level as it is posted.

State Level
Education is funded at the state and district levels. I know, sounds obvious. But remembering basic facts and guidelines will help us all make sense of how to gain access to stimulus funds.

First, locate your state department of education. Research the site for information on American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which shouldn’t be difficult to find. Bookmark the site, or sign up for any updating services, either email or RSS feed, to follow the latest news in your state.

District Level

Right now, many districts across the country are recovering from last-minute budget cuts and haven't gotten to processing information concerning the stimulus funds. Check with your district anyway, and if nothing is posted on the district's webpage, encourage them to keep the community in touch with what's going on concerning these funds (if there's someone in charge of Community Relations or PR, start there). Also, the district level includes your administrator, who might be easier to communicate with than the school district, and he or she should have the latest information.

Why is all this important?

title-one[1]Because this year, you could be purchasing products paid for by stimulus funds instead of out of your own pocket! Teaching Resource Center has a variety of materials appropriate for use of these funds, wherever you see the Title I Approved logo.

Hopefully the "Spotlight on Stimulus Series" will help direct more federal funds into your classroom for the benefit of your students. Questions? Comments? Please leave them below!

Additional Resources:

Stimulus Update Article