26 Aug Worcester to Get $1.9M in Federal Money for Teachers (MA)August 26, 2010
By: John J. MonahanSource: The Telegram & Gazette
Gov. Deval L. Patrick is releasing $204 million in federal economic recovery funding to local school districts that will boost Worcester’s public school budget with an additional $1.9 million to pay teachers.
The funds come as part of a $650 million state share of an extension of federal recovery funds that cleared Congress earlier this month after Senate Democrats overcame opposition from Republicans who tried to reduce and block the allocation over deficit worries.
Most of those funds for Medicaid and other programs must be appropriated by the Legislature, but Mr. Patrick has said the education funding included in the appropriation can be distributed without legislative approval. Local communities should begin receiving their allocations in the next two weeks.
The administration had counted on the funding when it prepared its budget earlier this year. But when approval in Washington delayed the money, the state had to roll back Chapter 70 funding to cities and towns with cuts up to 4 percent in aid to public schools.
The federal funds distributed are directed specifically at maintaining teacher jobs and hiring back laid-off teachers. It will be distributed according to the state’s current Chapter 70 distribution formula to cities and towns.
Lt. Gov. Timothy P. Murray, said today the funding is “good news” for the workforce and for maintaining education services during the economic downturn. He said it is intended to bridge gaps in local school financing through next year when it is hoped the economy will have improved.
He said Mr. Patrick was active in pushing for bipartisan support for the funds through the National Governors Association when it was being debated in the U.S. Senate.
“This money is going to save 2,700 teaching positions,” around the state and help prevent retrenchment in school reforms during the recession, Mr. Murray said.
Other funding for Massachusetts from the federal recovery fund extension will allow communities to maintain police and firefighter jobs and hire back some laid-off employees, he said. The federal funds will be used to shore up what he called “a very stressed safety net” of social services that have been cut back even as economic conditions have increased demand.