Last week, I told you about a grim presentation to the school board regarding the district’s financial future, in the midst of this state budget crisis. Among the thoughtful comments that followed were a few mentions of the federal stimulus package wending its way through Congress, which includes $141 billion for education.
If the House’s just-passed version of the bill makes it through the Senate as-is, Alameda Unified could get around $4.6 million over the next two years. So where would that money go?
According to this chart submitted by board president Mike McMahon, the money would land in three pots: $1.4 million for school construction, $2.2 million to help the district deal with rising special education costs and about $953,000 for schools whose students primarily come from low-income families.
Where it wouldn’t land: Into the district’s unrestricted fund, for basic educational expenses. The district’s chief financial officer, Tim Rahill, said Alameda schools could lose $4 million in state aid for this school year and next, and that’s on top of increased costs and an estimated $650,000 it expects to lose when the Nea Community Learning Center opens next school year.
The news may not all be bad, though: The district still has $2.8 million in Measure H funds available for this year (provided the district prevails against litigants seeking to invalidate H). And the state, which is could get an estimated $10 billion, may get “fiscal stabilization” money that could help fill in some holes in the state’s education budget.
There’ll be money in there for technology too, which the district could sure use for a just-approved network technology upgrade, and for programs that assist homeless students (we’ve got one here that, last I checked, was working out some extra hurdles toward re-upping its state grant).
I’ll have more on this as it comes. The Senate, by the way, is slated to consider the bill today.