19 Aug Schools Could See ‘Edujobs’ Funds by Fall (MI)August 19, 2010
By: Traci L. WeisenbachSource: Huron Daily Tribune
Michigan, along with other states, has until Sept. 9 to apply for a portion of $10 billion in federal funding, which was included in the $26 billion Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance bill signed into law last week by President Barack Obama.
According to information provided by the Michigan Education Association (MEA), the jobs of an estimated 4,700 public school employees across the state will be saved this school year because of the “edujobs” funds. The state is expected to receive more than $300 million.
Local school officials are pleased about the prospect of receiving the federal funds, but are skeptical about how soon they’ll receive the money and what strings will be attached.
The MEA website stated the federal government intends to act on each state’s application within about two weeks after it is received. Governors must make awards to districts on a timely basis after receipt of the funds. Michigan districts will probably receive at least part of the money in their October state aid payment.
According to the Michigan Association of School Administrators (MASA), states will decide whether to distribute the money through Title 1 or their state aid formulas. If the governor chooses the first option, MASA estimates that all districts would receive an additional $199 per student. This would bring the per-student state aid payment to about $7,400 for most districts (some districts receive a higher per-student state aid amount).
“Keep in mind that these numbers are deceiving and do not factor in the $154 cut that districts took last year, as well as the increase in the retirement rate of $150 and health care costs in excess in 19 percent in many districts,” MASA noted.
If the governor chooses to distribute funds based upon the Title I formula, which MASA anti cipates based upon the distribution of federal stimulus funds, MASA has worked with the state Senate and House Fiscal Agencies to produce an Ed Jobs allocation chart based on Title I allocation per district.
MASA stated once local districts receive funding, they can allocate the funds for fiscal years 2010-11, 2011-12, or both. Funds must be expended by 9/30/2012.
“Careful districts might choose to spread the funds over two years, in order to provide a protective cushion within Michigan’s wildly fluctuating economy,” MASA noted on its website. Once these funds are spent, schools will still face budget shortfalls. Michigan will still need to seek long-term solutions to our structural deficit.”
The federal funds will not be going to colleges or universities.
According to the MEA, the money can be used for “compensation and benefits and other expenses, such as support services, necessary to retain existing employees, to recall or rehire former employees, and to hire new employees, in order to provide early childhood, elementary, or secondary, educational and related services.”
Up to 2 percent of the funds can be used by the state for administrative costs.
The money, however, doesn’t have to be used on only teaching staff. The MEA stated the funds can pay salaries of many other school employees, including counselors, librarians, secretaries, social workers, paraprofessionals, interpreters, physical therapists, speech therapists, occupational workers, in-service teacher trainers, nurses, athletic coaches, security officers, custodians, maintenance workers, bus drivers, cafeteria workers and more.
The Michigan School Business Officials website noted the funds could be used for the salaries of principals and assistant principals.
The funds cannot be used for the operation of the superintendent’s office or the board of education, including the salaries and benefits of administrative employees such as the superintendent, chief financial officer, curriculum director and other district central office staff.
The MEA also noted the funds cannot be used for equipment, utilities, renovations or buses. The money cannot be used to pay for outside contractors, but it can be used to pay for services provided by another public school district.
The federal funds also cannot be placed in district fund balances, or “rainy day funds,” and the state cannot use the funds for this purpose.
States and local school districts will be required to report how they use the money and how it supported personnel, the MEA added.
“The money is intended to keep teachers and other school employees on the job this school year,” the MEA stated.