The House Appropriations Committee yesterday released details of President-elect Obama’s stimulus recovery package. The plan calls for $275 billion in tax cuts and $550 billion in new and targeted spending. As the legislation moves through Congress the funding levels could change or new programs added or removed from the economic recovery bill. Specifically, the bill currently provides:
- $41 billion to local school districts through Title I ($13 billion)
- IDEA ($13 billion)
- New School Modernization and Repair Program ($14 billion)
- Education Technology program ($1 billion)
- $79 billion in state fiscal relief to prevent cutbacks to key services, including $39 billion to local school districts and public colleges and universities distributed through existing state and federal formulas, $15 billion to states as bonus grants as a reward for meeting key performance measures, and $25 billion to states for other high priority needs such as public safety and other critical services, which may include education
- $15.6 billion to increase the Pell grants
- $6 billion for higher education modernization
These are all increases or new federal dollars for education projects. Over the last several years President Bush has sought to eliminate the education technology block grant from No Child Left Behind (NLLB), but Congress has restored funding each year, however, last year the education technology program was only funded at $267.5 million as opposed to President-elect Obama’s plan which calls for an increase to $1 billion. Schools can use the education technology block grant funds to pay for the non-discounted portion of their E-rate funds. Conceivably, other education funding outlined above could be used for technology purposes as well.
Funds For Learning will continue to monitor how this package or other Obama initiatives may affect the E-rate program. Details of the stimulus package can be viewed here .