Stimulus can’t solve schools’ shortfalls

Mark Pitsch:

The federal economic stimulus law will deliver about $398 million to Wisconsin’s schools over the next two years, but officials say it won’t solve their budget problems and homeowners should still expect property tax increases.
Moreover, it’s still unclear how districts will be able to use the money, when it will arrive and what impact it will have on students.
“It is pretty significant,” said Erica Pickett, director of business services for the Stoughton School District, of the stimulus money. “But what we don’t have are the strings — what we can and can’t spend it on.”
Also unclear is how most of the money will be divided among school districts.
The U.S. Department of Education last week unveiled preliminary district-by-district allocations for the program in the stimulus law that provides money to help disadvantaged students, a total of $139 million for Wisconsin.
Madison schools, for example, would receive $5.7 million over the next two years for the program, known as Title I and designed to assist disadvantaged students in reading and math.
That’s in addition to the $5.4 million the district is getting in the current year under the program. In Portage, schools will get $175,987 over two years in new Title I money under the stimulus law. That compares with the $268,497 it is receiving this year.

School Districts should not spend the money in ways that increase ongoing operating costs…. Much more on the splurge/stimulus here.