Should Florida schools get waiver for stimulus money?
Whether Florida schools get up to $4.55 billion from the federal stimulus package all hinges on whether lawmakers give states like Florida a loophole.
And some folks outside of Florida say they shouldn't.
At issue are what's called MOE -- or "maintenance of efforts" -- requirements. Those say states must maintain certain funding levels in education before they get more federal education money. Florida falls short there because of recent budget cuts, meaning its share of education stimulus is in jeopardy.
The Education Trust is not sympathetic. It fears a shell game with potentially harmful, long-term consequences for low-income students. In a newly issued statement, the group says the Senate should drop its effort in the stimulus bill to allow the secretary of education to waive the MOE. Says the group:
"The Maintenance of Effort and Supplement Not Supplant provisions traditionally contained in federal education law have helped protect schools and school districts serving high proportions of poor children from dollar-for-dollar raids on their state funding. Given the pressures on state budgets, these school districts, schools, and children need those protections now, more than ever."
Translation? States like Florida need to dig deeper into their own pockets before going hat in hand to the feds.
In a related development, the NEA says hurry up and pass the thing.
- Ron Matus, state education reporter