California’s kindergarten through 12th grade public schools will receive $213 million in State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (SFSF) Phase II federal stimulus funding from the U.S. Department of Education according to a statement today from State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell. This is the last portion of SFSF funds California is eligible to receive.
“I applaud President Barack Obama and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan for getting critically needed funds to states in order to help schools in these dire economic times,” said O’Connell. “School districts are struggling against massive state budget cuts, teacher layoffs, and program cutbacks. This funding comes at a critical time, and I have directed the California Department of Education staff to disburse the funds to schools as quickly as possible.”
Legislative approval is still needed in order for the California Department of Education (CDE) to have statutory authority to distribute the funds to local educational agencies. Similar authority is needed before the CDE can disburse new funds coming to California through the federal Education Jobs Fund bill.
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“I urge the Governor and Legislature to approve the state budget or pass stand alone-legislation immediately so the CDE can distribute these funds to schools that desperately need them,” O’Connell said.
SFSF is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The federal funding is designed to help schools avert layoffs and advance reform in teacher quality, standards and assessments, data to improve instruction, and support of struggling schools.
SFSF funding came in two phases. In the first phase, California received a grant of $2.6 billion in the spring of 2009 and $355 million in the fall of 2009 for kindergarten through 12th grade public education. This week’s announcement of the remaining $213 million in additional funding is the second and last phase of SFSF funding.
California’s application for SFSF funding included information on how the state will lay the foundation for reform including:
- How teachers and principals are evaluated and how this information is used to support, retain, promote, or remove staff;
- How the state will implement its California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System;
- How the state provides student academic growth data on reading/language arts and mathematics in a way that improves instructional programs; and
- A list of Title I schools in improvement, corrective action, or restructuring that are identified as persistently lowest-achieving schools.
“With this application, California provided us with basic information on what is working in their classrooms” said Duncan in a statement on the SFSF funding. “This data is a critical tool in helping us work together—with students, parents, teachers, administrators, community leaders and elected officials at every level—to improve education for California's students."
The CDE is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell. The core purpose of the CDE is to lead and support the continuous improvement of student achievement, with a specific focus on closing achievement gaps.