April 1, 2009
April 1, 2009
Dear Member of Congress:Today, the Department of Education is making available $44 billion to States through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), as well as providing guidance on the use of those funds. In addition to tax cuts and investments in energy, health care, and other priorities, this sweeping economic recovery package includes the largest one-time investment in education in the nation's history, more than $100 billion. The goals of the education components of the law are to help save and create teaching jobs, maintain essential learning programs, expand college access, and advance critically needed education reforms. We are awarding today approximately $11.4 billion to States for Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, three programs under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the Vocational Rehabilitation State Grants programs, and two Independent Living programs. We are also releasing application instructions and guidelines for the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (SFSF). The SFSF application package provides instructions about how to apply for $26.6 billion designated specifically for K-12 and higher education and at least $6 billion for education, public safety, or other government services. The Department will release these funds within two weeks of receiving and approving a State's application.
In order to ensure accountability for the use of these funds, the recipients of these funds will be required to report on the number of education jobs that are saved, the uses of funds, and the amount of State and local tax increases averted because of the ARRA. The SFSF application package also requires each State receiving funds to provide baseline data on education reforms embodied in the law. Our goal is to be absolutely transparent about how we invest this funding, educate our children, evaluate our teachers, and measure success.
The guidance documents and SFSF application are available on the Department of Education Web site (www.ed.gov/recovery). This site also provides information about allocations under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Department staff are reaching out directly to educators, State educational agencies, and State and local leaders to answer questions and move the process forward. Finally, staff from our Office of Legislation and Congressional Affairs are available to answer any questions you or your staff may have, and they may be reached at (202) 401-0020.
This is an extraordinary time for our country – a time of great challenges and even greater opportunities. Thanks to leadership in Congress and the President's deep commitment to education, we have the resources to boost our economy in the short term and strengthen it for the long term. I look forward to working with you to meet both of these goals.