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Moderate Plan Would Slash Education Funding


I've heard from folks up on the Hill that an amendment to be introduced by Sens. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, could significantly scale back the nearly $140 billion education funding in the Senate's version of the proposed economic stimulus package.

The items targeted include at least $24.8 billion to be cut from the $79 billion State Stabilization Fund, $6.75 billion out of the more than $13 billion for special education, $6.5 billion from Title I out of $13 billion, and $50 million from the proposed $100 million Teacher Quality Enhancement grant program.

Advocates are worried the plan would block much needed aid for local districts.

"We are extremely disappointed that the bipartisan amendment would cut the only direct aid going to school districts” that could help avert layoffs and severe program reductions," said Mary Kusler, the assistant director of government relations for the American Associations of School Administrators. "By reducing their investment in [special education] and Title I they are only going to increase the burdens being felt by local districts as they work on their budgets for the coming school year."

I'm hearing that a number of centrist Democratic senators are willing to consider the package of cuts. Stay tuned.


Is there anyone out there from Maine or Nebraska that can do something about this? How can this possibly be happening? The Senator from Maine looks at this legislation and finds education assistance to be the most wasteful item in the bill?

We can subsidize sugar and other ag products to the tune of billions of dollars; we can practically burn money in development projects in Iraq, but preventing teacher layoffs is "wasteful." The stimulus bill still leaves school districts with huge unfunded mandate deficits from special education.

Its not wasteful to make my school district spend money on special education that it doesn't have. How then can it be wasteful to provide federal funding to school districts to run programs that the federal government mandates.

Well, as they say, you get what you pay for. I've been in education for 25 years and we never got wet from trickle down economics. Now they want to slash the education part of the stimulus. Amazing. The school budget allots me $60 dollars annually for 150+ students. In 2009.
But I'm not terribly surprised. Disappointed, yes, but I'll simply continue working my heart out every day- unless, of course, I'm laid off.

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