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Stim 2: The Stimulus Strikes Back?

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Schools and the Stimulus

Another stimulus package could very possibly be Coming Soon to a Congress Near You, at least if Warren Buffett has his way.

Buffett, the gazillionaire investor who has advised President Barack Obama on economic issues, told Bloomberg television that he thinks the country may need a second jolt of federal funding if the unemployment rate keeps rising. In a news conference earlier this week, Obama said Washington should give the $787 billion package, passed in February, a little longer to work before considering a sequel to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

But back when the legislation was under consideration in the House Appropriations Committee, U.S. Rep. David R. Obey, D-Wis., the panel's chairman, floated the possibility of another stimulus.

And school districts are already looking forward to some lean times after the stimulus money, which covers fiscal years 2009 and 2010, goes away.

"Fiscal year 2011 is looking very precarious," said Anthony Bent, the superintendent of the Shrewsbury, Mass., school district.

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From a purely educational perspective this may sound great, but what about the overall economic concerns? Despite Buffett's endorsement of Obama's plan, it is overwhelmingly agreed among economists that the first stimulus package was absolutely ineffective in its purpose, stimulating the economy, which drives income, which drives taxes, which drives school budgets. I am aware that as educators, our mantra is always 'more money for schools!' But if the funding base, which is taxes, doesn't improve, and the first plan was ineffective, another plan would be defined as 'insanity,' doing the same thing over and over with a different expectation of results.

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