Local School District Applies For Stimulus Package Funding

Deadline for California Public Schools to Apply For Stimulus Package's Initial Funding Passes

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The deadline for California public schools and school districts to apply for the first portion of federal stimulus package funding passed yesterday.

The Berkeley Unified School District applied for the funding on April 24 and will be notified of how much it will receive in mid-May, said Javetta Cleveland, deputy superintendent of business services for the district.

The funds are intended to aid schools in preparing students for college and careers, increasing teacher effectiveness and improving academic performance in low-performing schools, according to the California Department of Education's Web site.

The amount of money districts will receive is equal to statewide budget cuts to education made in the February 2009 budget revision, according to Andrea Ball, deputy superintendent of government affairs for the department.

Two-thirds of the funds that were cut during the revision will be distributed following the first round of applications, Ball said. Schools and districts must submit a second, more extensive application later this year in order to receive the remainder of the funds.

"This is the deadline for them to get their first portion by May," she said. "We just had a very brief (first) application process."

District Superintendent Bill Huyett said he did not know how much funding the district will receive, but that in its application, the district was required to assure that it would help underachieving students and avoid potential layoffs.

"When you apply you have to make sure that those assurances are a given," Huyett said.

Eight administrators and 124 teachers received notices of potential layoffs in early March, and most of the notices have already been rescinded, said district spokesperson Mark Coplan.

According to the Web site, the district is projected to receive a total of $614,718 in stabilization funding to alleviate cutbacks in the 2009-10 school year-$276,623 of which will arrive this month.

In total, California public K-12 schools in low-income districts will receive nearly $2.5 billion in stabilization funding for the upcoming fiscal year.

While the districts must work to prevent layoffs and close the achievement gap, Ball said they can use the funds as they see fit.

"They can use these funds for a number of purposes," she said.


Contact Tess Townsend and Zach A. Williams at [email protected]

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