Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Economic stimulus plan could mean $2-billion for Florida schools

The economic stimulus plan rolling through Congress could pump $2-billion into Florida schools, easing the pain from yet another round of state budget cuts on tap for this spring.

The $825-billion package, backed by President Obama, sets aside at least $100-billion for K-12 education and $21.5-billion for colleges and universities.

A congressional analysis that began circulating widely Thursday estimates Florida school districts will get nearly $1.3-billion this year and $668-million in 2010.

Around Tampa Bay this year, the analysis estimates Pinellas could get $56.1-million; Hillsborough, $93.6-million; Pasco, $24.3-million; and Hernando, $9.1-million.

"It would be tremendous relief," said Hillsborough schools spokesman Steve Hegarty.

"This is a lot of money," said Ruth Melton, legislative director for the Florida School Boards Association.

But state and district officials also reacted cautiously, saying it remains unclear to what extent the federal money may come with strings attached.

The state Department of Education is certainly excited about the prospect of more money for schools, said spokesman Tom Butler. But "we really need to understand the details and requirements of the final package before we can estimate its impact on Florida."

Pinellas spokeswoman Andrea Zahn echoed that sentiment, saying that until more information is available about guidelines or restrictions, "it would be premature to predict how it could benefit the district."

Education groups throughout Florida have been awaiting details on the stimulus package for weeks. The Legislature cut education spending for the first time in decades in the spring and lopped off another $500-million in a special session this month. The cuts it will face in March are even bigger.

Much of the stimulus money is targeted for specific projects, including programs for low-income and disabled children, and school construction.

"When you're talking about the cuts we're experiencing, that's in the operating budget," Hegarty said. "It's my understanding that the stimulus would not be recurring funds. We're talking about two different pots."

The congressional analysis did not include all school-related spending in the package. By some estimates, there may be up to $200-billion for schools, said John Laughner, legislative manager for the Committee for Education Funding, which represents a board coalition of national education groups.

The group is conducting a more comprehensive analysis of the plan that could be out today.

Laughner said legislative leaders are pushing to get a bill to Obama by mid February.

The new president has "had a huge hand in what the bill looks like," he said. "I would think it would be really difficult for (Congress) to shoot down one of his first requests."

To see the district by district figures, visit

http://edlabor.house.gov/selected-allocations-for-school-districts-under-the-american-recovery-and-reinvestment-bill/index.shtml

Ron Matus can be reached at matus@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8873.

Stimulus for local schools

Estimated allocations under the House draft 2009 Stimulus Bill.

District20092010Total
Hernando$9.1-million$4.8-million$13.9-million
Hillsborough$93.6-million$49-million$142.6-million
Pasco$24.3-million$13.5-million$37.8-million
Pinellas$56.1-million$30.1-million$86.2-million
State total$1.3-billion$668-million$1.96-billion



Source: Congressional Research Service

Economic stimulus plan could mean $2-billion for Florida schools 01/22/09 [Last modified: Saturday, January 24, 2009 12:29am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Mulberry teens, 15 and 18, killed in Plant City when car runs red light, FHP says

    Blogs

    Two Mulberry teens are dead and another is critically injured after their car collided with another vehicle in a Plant City intersection Thursday afternoon.

  2. GOP Montana win may be blip in Democrats' anti-Trump hopes

    Blogs

    BOZEMAN, Mont. — A Montana Republican businessman won the state's U.S. House seat after being charged with assaulting a reporter on the eve of the election, a victory that may temper Democrats' hopes for a massive anti-Trump wave next year.

    Republican Greg Gianforte speaks to supporters after being declared the winner at a election night party for Montana's special House election against Democrat Rob Quist at the Hilton Garden Inn on Thursday in Bozeman, Montana.
  3. More than half of Senate signs onto bill to end Cuba travel restrictions

    Blogs

    WASHINGTON - Fifty-five members of the Senate, including Bill Nelson, have endorsed legislation to fully lift restrictions on travel to Cuba.

  4. Militants attack Christians in Egypt, killing at least 28

    Blogs

    CAIRO — Masked militants riding in three SUVs opened fire Friday on a bus packed with Coptic Christians, including children, south of the Egyptian capital, killing at least 28 people and wounding 22, the Interior Ministry said.

  5. District finals won't count for Pasco County students

    Blogs

    Scores from the district finals Pasco County students took in recent weeks will not count toward their semester grades or grade-point averages, superintendent Kurt Browning said Friday.