At over $1 billion in grants, education has been the single largest beneficiary of stimulus in the state.

Taunton School District Staff
In Taunton, stimulus funds have enabled the district's school system to enhance its special education program, ensuring that more children with special needs can stay in the district and in their communities.

"Before ARRA, we simply did what we could to sustain ourselves," said Laurie Hurley, the school system's grants writer.

The school system received a preschool grants for children with disabilities of $46K and a grant to states for the education of children with disabilities of $2.5 million. According to Hurley, the district was able to use the stimulus funds to expand its Therapeutic Learning Center, which caters to children in the district with special needs.

Taunton School District Staff with Jeffrey Simon
"It was needed because of the enrollment," said Hurley.

Barbara McGuire, principal of the Elizabeth Pole Elementary School, where the Center is housed, said that the Center was able to expand to four classrooms from three. "The ARRA money allowed us to bring kids back into the district," she said. "It's easier to access general education this way and these kids get invited to birthday parties and play dates. It opens up an entirely new world for them."

Recovery Act Impact: Education in MA

  • Over $1 billion spent

  • $80 million on education for the disadvantaged

  • $154 million on individuals with disabilities

  • $719 million on education stabilization fund

McGuire explained that the Center is very staff intensive and expanding it required funds they didn't have. But the stimulus funds provided the start up costs and now the district can more than realize the savings in transportation costs.

Taunton School Class
"This was a long term gain with lower costs. We would not have had the start up costs to do it without the stimulus funds," said Dr. Julie Hackett, Taunton Schools Superintendent. "What we spent on transportation was costly. The sustainability piece comes in the trade off."

Another piece of the stimulus grants went to professional development for the teachers. "With ARRA, we can invest the right way in quality training," said Hackett. "Our system believes in the whole child. For the first time in a long time, we really feel we can do it."