August 11, 2010
Preliminary Information on the Education Jobs Legislation
Information from State Superintendent Patricia I. Wright
As you may know, the federal Education Jobs Fund legislation was passed by Congress over the last several days and was signed into law by the President yesterday evening. The purpose of the legislation is to provide additional funding to states for support of local teacher salary and related costs at the elementary and secondary school level. This is newly adopted federal legislation and funding separate from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), but is similar to the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (SFSF) program under ARRA. Final legislation (H.R. 1586) (PDF).
This e-mail is to provide you with preliminary information as we await detailed information and guidance from the U.S. Department of Education (USED). With Congressional passage occurring just yesterday, little detailed information is available at this time on the operation of the program at the state and local levels. Undetermined at this time are issues such as specific state application requirements, the specific local education agency (LEA) allocation formula to be used in Virginia and specific school division funding allocations, and the specific timing of funds availability.
The following is a summary of key provisions and requirements in the Education Jobs legislation:
- States must apply to USED within 30 days of enactment and funds must be awarded to states with approved applications within 45 days of enactment;
- Funding is allocated to states using the same formula as SFSF (39 percent general population; 61 percent school-age population). The preliminary funding allocation for Virginia, pending final verification, is estimated at $249.5 million;
- A two percent state administrative set aside may be reserved by states. A decision on an administrative set aside for Virginia is undetermined at this time;
- Funding must be distributed to LEAs on the basis of the “primary elementary and secondary formula” or LEA relative shares of funds under the Title I-A program for the most recent fiscal year. The specific LEA distribution formula to be used in Virginia is undetermined at this time.
- Funds may only be used by LEAs for compensation and benefits and other expenses, such as support services, necessary to retain existing employees, to recall or rehire former employees, and to hire new employees, in order to provide early childhood, elementary, or secondary educational and related services. Funds may not be used by LEAs for general administrative expenses or for other support services expenditures meeting federal definitions;
- The deadline for funds obligation is not specified in the legislation. USED is to provide guidance on obligation timelines;
- A state maintenance of effort (MOE) for education requirement applies. USED verification that Virginia meets this requirement is pending.
- School divisions may need to adopt revised fiscal year 2011 budgets and request additional appropriation from the local governing body to accommodate the use of these additional federal funds. To alert local school boards and local governing bodies to this issue, this communication is being provided to the Virginia School Boards Association, the Virginia Association of Counties, and the Virginia Municipal League.
I hope this preliminary information is helpful pending the receipt of more detailed information and guidance from USED. I will continue to keep you updated and informed as more concrete information becomes available on this new program.