California Will Receive $4.9 Billion in Funds For Education

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The U.S. Department of Education approved California's application to receive $4.9 billion from the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund, state officials announced Friday.

State Schools Chief Jack O'Connell and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger urged California public schools and districts to quickly apply for the $3.1 billion of the total stabilization funds now available for distribution, O'Connell said in a release.

Of those funds, $2.6 billion is available to K-12 education, leaving $537 million to split between the UC and CSU systems, the release stated.

The university is set to receive $268 million, while only $255 million was taken into account in the February state budget, said UC spokesperson Ricardo Vazquez. The $13 million difference will go toward the UC system's current $450 million state funding shortfall for the next two years.

"The federal money has taken some of the burden off the shoulders of the state government for the coming year, preventing what otherwise would have been even deeper budget cuts for California public education," said UC President Mark Yudof in a statement.

While the university knows how much it will receive in stabilization funding, many uncertainties still remain for the Berkeley Unified School District, according to John Selawsky, school board member.

Although the district intends to apply for the funding before the deadline in early May, Selawsky said he did not know how much money the district will apply for or how it will be used.

Selawsky said he was awaiting more complete information from the state.

"I think a lot of this you need to take with a grain of salt until we get real information," he said.

Javetta Cleveland, the district's deputy superintendent of business services, said the district has already been approved to receive two different types of stimulus funding-IDEA funding, which goes toward special education, and about $697,596 in Title I funding for schools in low-income areas.

Cathy Campbell, president of the Berkeley Federation of Teachers, said these two types of funding will make a bigger impact on layoffs and other cuts than the stabilization funding.

"Districts are being very conservative and planning for further state cuts," Campbell said. "At this point in Berkeley, it's not the consensus that we should rescind layoff notices on the basis of this (stabilization) money."


Tess Townsend covers local schools. Contact her at [email protected]

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