This morning, a joint education budget meeting was held where Jim Main, State Finance Director, Dr. Joseph Morton, state school Superintendent, and Justice Drayton Neighbors, appointed by Governor Bob Riley to oversee disbursement of the economic stimulus money coming into the state of Alabama, were present to give a report and answer questions on the effect the stimulus dollars will have on education.
Of the $3 billion allotted to Alabama, $1 billion will go to education. Per stipulations set in place by the federal government, 60% of the dollars will go to K-12 and 40% to higher education.
Dr. Morton reported that 100% of the dollars coming into the education budget will go toward saving teacher jobs. Because of the economic situation in the country as well as in Alabama, before the economic stimulus package was passed, state-wide we would have lost an estimated 3,790 teacher jobs. Now, most, if not all, of those jobs will be saved.
Dr. Morton further stated that as far as accountability is concerned, each school system is required to file an expenditure of federal funds before they ever get a dollar. Further, each district has to post and account for every dollar spent from the stimulus money.
The $1 billion dollars will go toward the 2010 and 2011 budgets. The state will not receive the $1 billion in on lump sum, however. Two draw-downs of equal amounts from the federal government will occur in July of this year and the following draw-down in July of next year.
At the end of the meeting, Dr. Morton reminded everyone that the stimulus money is not a cure-all for our financial woes and that we are still, in fact, under proration