August 13, 2010
Additonal Information on Federal Education Jobs Fund
Information from State Superintendent Patricia I. Wright
As a follow-up to my initial e-mail on Wednesday, I am forwarding to you detailed information received today from the U.S. Department of Education on the federal Education Jobs Fund program enacted this week. Attached is a letter from Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and initial guidance on the program. I encourage you to carefully review the guidance document to understand how these funds may be used most effectively and consistent with the law’s requirements. Virginia’s Education Jobs Fund allocation is $249.5 million. At this time, no decision has been made whether Virginia will set aside any funds under the two percent administrative set aside or what the specific LEA distribution formula will be.
The Education Jobs Fund requires that school divisions use the funds to pay the salaries and benefits of teachers, school-level administrators, and other essential school staff. The funds can be used to recall or rehire former employees, retain existing employees, and hire new employees meeting this criteria. As discussed in the guidance, the key is targeting the funds to division employees that provide school-level services regardless of where they are housed. For example, an employee’s office may be in the division’s central office, but if the employee provides school-level services as their primary job function, they would qualify. However, using the funds for general division administration is not allowable. Employees for which the funds are used must be employees of the division or contractual employees of another school division, but not external contractors or consultants not employed by an LEA. Please carefully review Section D. in the guidance on local uses of funds.
Divisions are not required to submit an LEA application if they have submitted their SFSF LEA application, which all LEAs in Virginia have done. The emphasis is on using the funds during the 2010-2011 school year, but any balances of funds may be obligated by divisions through September 30, 2012. Funds will be available on a reimbursement basis through OMEGA to reimburse qualifying expenses effective August 10, 2010 (date of enactment). Like other federal funds, the funds must be separately tracked and accounted for locally, and the funds will be subject to Section 1512 ARRA reporting requirements (i.e., jobs reporting, etc.) as well as specific annual reporting to be determined by USED. VDOE will include these funds in the LEA monitoring process to be conducted for ARRA funds.
In addition to receiving the attached information today, we are reviewing the application form that was released that states must submit to USED by the September 9, 2010 statutory deadline. VDOE staff and I have begun working with Governor McDonnell and his staff on outstanding program decisions and the completion of the application. USED anticipates awarding funds to Virginia within two weeks of the submission of an approvable application. I will continue to update you as additional information becomes available.