Educational Editorial: Federal stimulus funds

By Dr. Bill Bosher, NBC12 Educational Specialist

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - West Virginia is hailing as courageous those school districts that used stimulus funds for non-recurring expenses…technology, training, and equipment.

Florida and California are struggling to recover from its use of funds for jobs. President Barack Obama proposed that Federal stimulus funds for schools would save 600,000 teaching positions.

Well, what is happening in Virginia? There doesn't seem to be much talk about these funds in the proposed budgets for next year.

The reality is that the President and Congress actually spent $100 billion. It seems that school districts across the country used about 38 percent of the money for fiscal year 2009, 48 percent for FY10…and about 14 percent for the current school year, FY11.

It played out this way. Chesterfield County, with 60,000 students, used $19 million in FY10.

Before it could budget the same amount for the following year, the "DC" truck was stopped in Richmond, and the funds were seized by the state and used to support its share of the cost of public schools.

For Chesterfield it was, "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me."

As far as local budgets are concerned, stimulus funds are history.  Some school divisions, like Hanover, decided during the first round to "cut and hold" in order to avoid the cliff.

Stimulus funds turned out not to be a stimulant at all, but an economic Trojan Horse.

In high school there was always someone who was willing to give you that first drink or drug…when you got hooked, you were on your own. Some resisted the temptation of the Federal stimulant…others are suffering from withdrawal.

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