BY BOB WILLIAMS – The Federal Education Jobs Fund that gives the states $10 billion for K-12 education to crate or save 160,000 teacher jobs is a hoax.
First, in most states any teacher due to be laid off for the 2010-11 academic year had to receive a notice in the spring, approximately six months ago. In many cases these teachers have already been rehired. For example, in Washington state, Sen. Murray said the bill would save 3300 jobs, but in fact only 445 teachers received lay off notices and many, if not most, have already been rehired.
The Federal Department of Education allows the funds to be use for increasing teacher salaries or bonuses and also allows the funds to be use for administrators and support staff, as detailed by the Secretary of Education in a letter to Governors found here.
Any state accepting the funds must be aware of the “maintenance of effort” (MOE) requirements if they accept the federal funds. The letter from the Secretary of Education to Governors details four ways to comply with the MOEs. Essentially, if states take the federal stimulus money they cannot reduce K-12 funding to lower than FY 2009 levels. The very confining standards can be found here.
The Department of Education provided “guidance” on the use of the funds here. It states that the funds are for the 2010-2011 school year, but any remaining funds must be used by September 30, 2012.
It further states that the states will not use the funds, directly or indirectly, to establish, restore, or supplement a rainy-day fund or reduce or retire debt obligations incurred by the state. States also may not use any of the funds to make payments into a teacher retirement system.
Governors may not direct how Local school districts use the funds. If a Governor refuses the funds, the Secretary of Education may bypass the Governor and award funds directly to the school district.
Bob Williams is with the Evergreen Freedom Foundation.