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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Latest stimulus money unlikely to help schools

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The latest federal stimulus package of $26.1 billion has $10 billion earmarked for education. Signed into law on Tuesday, the money is supposed to save the jobs of teachers caught in the pinch of declining state funding. According to Monett School Superintendent Dr. John Jungmann, the money may not make it to the local level at all.

Missouri will get $189 million from the $10 billion for education within the next 45 days. Jungmann said there has been little communication from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) or from Governor Jay Nixon's office on what will happen with the money.

"It's hard to tell until we see the rules on how the money can be used," Jungmann said. "After the first stimulus, it was thought if there was another round, the feds would try to keep states from supplanting money to keep general revenue from shifting elsewhere."

The last federal stimulus gave states two years to spend the allocation. If the rules do not mandate spending in the current fiscal year, Jungmann sees indications that state leaders will try to hang on to all the money for 2011-12.

"We anticipate it being another attempt to avoid the catastrophic funding cliff anticipated for next year," Jungmann said. "The state is anticipating a $650 million deficit when funds run out at the end of the year while local and state revenues are trying to rebound. So hopefully, the new money could help schools from taking another significant cut next year."

The decision on how the money will be used is likely to be a collaborative effort between the governor, DESE and the state legislature. Some of those parties have yet to weigh in on the discussion.

"We're not counting on any additional dollars coming our way this year," Jungmann said. "I think the money may be used for adding jobs back next year that would otherwise be cut.

"I think overall it's a good thing," Jungmann added. "I don't think we'll see the impact immediately in Missouri. Some states are in a more precarious position and may see the money distributed more quickly. Missouri has already said we're going to live within our means at this year's level."

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