What is the amount of ARRA funding that has been allocated to support early education, K-12, and higher education in Massachusetts?

Based on estimates released by the U.S. Department of Education, Massachusetts is expected to receive $1.88 billion to support our public education systems. This amount does not include potential competitive grant awards and support for capital projects. Included in this total is approximately:

  • $994 million in State Fiscal Stabilization Funds,
  • $24 million in Child Care Development Block Grants,
  • $10 million in Head Start and Early Head Start,
  • $163 million in Title I,
  • $280 million in IDEA, Part B Grants,
  • $363 in Pell Grants, and
  • $9 million in Federal Work Study funds.

These funds are in addition to the annual allocations that Massachusetts currently receives.

What types of funding are available through the ARRA?

The ARRA contains three primary categories of funding for education:

  • Formula-based funding for states, districts, and schools (including State Fiscal Stabilization Fund, Head Start, Title I, and IDEA);
  • Competitive grant funding (including programs to support innovation and improvement efforts, integrate educational technology into curricula and instruction, improve the quality of teaching, and enhance research activities); and
  • Funding to support the construction, modernization, and repair of K-12 and post-secondary school facilities (including Tax Credit Bonds for Schools).

What are the priorities for spending the additional federal funding, and how can the funds be allocated?

The goals of the ARRA are two-fold: 1) to stimulate the economy in the short term and 2) to invest in education and other essential public services to ensure the long-term economic health of the nation.

The ARRA requires that 81.8 percent of State Fiscal Stabilization Funds must be used to restore K-12 and higher education funding to the higher of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2008 or 2009 levels in FY 2010 and FY 2011; for Massachusetts, funding must be restored to the FY 2009 levels. The remaining 18.2 percent of funds may be used for public safety and other government services, which may include education services. Formula-based funding allocations will be made in accordance with existing formulae. Additional information regarding the processes for competitive grants will be presented as it becomes available.

According to guidance from the U.S. Department of Education, ARRAfunds should be used to improve student achievement, and to help close the achievement gap. Specifically, State Fiscal Stabilization Funds are intended to foster progress in the following areas of reform:

  • Making progress toward rigorous college- and career-ready standards and high-quality assessments that are valid and reliable for all students, including English language learners and students with disabilities;
  • Establishing pre-K-to college and career data systems that track progress and foster continuous improvement;
  • Making improvements in teacher effectiveness and in the equitable distribution of qualified teachers for all students, particularly students who are most in need;
  • Providing intensive support and effective interventions for the lowest-performing schools.

Across the various funding streams, strategic allocations of funding in FY 2010 and FY 2011 are necessary to minimize the potential "funding cliff" in FY 2012. In other words, agencies must give careful consideration to the sustainability of programs and initiatives funded through the ARRA.

How are State Fiscal Stabilization Funds being distributed to K-12 districts in FY 2010?

The ARRA stipulates that 81.8 percent of the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (SFSF) be used to restore funding to K-12 districts and public institutions of higher education to FY 2009 levels in FY 2010 and FY 2011 using the state's primary funding formula. Governor Patrick protected Chapter 70 education funding from cuts in his Fiscal Year 2010 budget proposal. However, due to a historic drop-off in state revenue collections brought on by the recession, level-funding of Chapter 70 still prevented 166 districts from reaching foundation spending levels. The remaining 163 districts in the Commonwealth already reach foundation funding levels in the Governor's budget proposal, using only state and local support. Therefore, the Governor's proposed allocation of federal stabilization funds would guarantee foundation-level funding for all districts. While some communities will not receive SFSF funds to restore them to foundation level, there are other funding opportunities from which many additional districts will benefit, including Title I, IDEA, and competitive grants.

What is the time frame for spending additional ARRA funding?

ARRAfunds will be distributed quickly to states, local school districts, and other entities in order to avert layoffs, create and save jobs and improve student achievement. States and school districts in turn are urged to move rapidly to develop plans for using funds, consistent with the law's reporting and accountability requirements, and to promptly begin spending funds to help drive the nation's economic recovery.

What is the time frame for spending additional Title I funding?

According to federal guidance to date, states must obligate at least 85 percent of their FY 2009 Title I funds by September 30, 2010, including the additional ARRA funds. The remaining FY 2009 Title I funds will be available for obligation until September 30, 2011.

What is the time frame for spending additional IDEA, Part B funding?

Pending the release of funding from the U.S. Department of Education, efforts will be made to expedite the obligation process. The majority of these funds will be obligated during the 2009-10 school year, and the remainder during school year 2010-11. States may begin obligating IDEA, Part B recovery funds immediately upon the effective date of the grant. All IDEA recovery funds must be obligated by Sept. 30, 2011.

When will additional Title I and IDEA, Part B funding be available to my school district?

The federal government is requiring that the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education process and track the expenditures of the ARRA stimulus funds separately from the annual entitlement funds for special education and Title I. This means that the Department will have different fund codes and application forms for the ARRA grant programs. We anticipate that these application forms will be available by April 30, 2009, for distribution of funds starting July 1, 2009 following the approval of the applications.

Does the "supplement versus supplant" requirement for IDEA, Part B funding also apply to additional ARRA IDEA, Part B funding?

The IDEA, Part B funding provided through the ARRA is new federal funding, so in accordance with existing maintenance of effort requirements, up to 50 percent of these additional federal funds can be utilized in place of local and state funds to support special education services. All of the ARRA IDEA, Part B funds will be utilized for special education services, and the "freed up" local and state funds that otherwise would be spent on special education services (equal to the amount of 50 percent of the ARRA IDEA, Part B funding) can now be utilized for other educational purposes. School districts will be required to document how these funds are utilized.

When will applications for competitive grant programs be available, and when will grant funding be awarded?

According to the U.S. Department of Education, Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for many competitive grant programs will be issued during the summer, and in some cases grants will be awarded starting in the fall of 2009. For more detailed information about specific competitive grant programs, please refer to the fact sheet about ARRA education funding for Massachusetts.

Where can I find additional information about the ARRA?

For general information about education funding for Massachusetts per the ARRA, please refer to our summary document pdf format of ARRA Summary of Funding for Massachusetts - 5 21 2
, fact sheet, PowerPoint presentation, and district-by-district analysis . For information about state guidelines and procedures, please refer to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education ARRA website . For information about federal guidelines and procedures, please refer to this US DOE website.