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States and Districts: Better Spend Your Stimulus Money Now

The latest U.S. Department of Education data indicate that states and school districts have $27 billion in stimulus cash still sitting in the bank, waiting to be spent.

While states and districts have until at least Sept. 30, and sometimes much longer, to spend the money, some House Republicans are offering another incentive to quickly deplete those stimulus funds:

They might want the money back.

That's according to this Washington Post story about the conservative Republican Study Committee's desire to chop $100 billion from the federal budget. (This committee represents more than two-thirds of House members, the story says, so their recommendations will certainly carry some weight.)

House GOPers are eyeing unspent stimulus funds, of which there might be as much as $45 billion, to pay for those cuts. And several billion of those unspent dollars are education funds.

For a look at state-by-state breakdowns of how much education stimulus money states have left, see my earlier post.

Any attempt to take back stimulus money, especially from public schools, would undoubtedly be met with a gigantic fight. And of course, the Senate is still controlled by Democrats, although Republicans made election gains in that chamber as well.

What's more, a sizable chunk of remaining education stimulus dollars include competitive awards, such as Race to the Top, in which the funding can't be drawn down all at once. My guess is Congress couldn't—or wouldn't—take that money away regardless.

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