Governor Baldacci Submits Application for Additional Federal Education Funding

Release from Governor John Baldacci’s office

AUGUSTA – Governor John E. Baldacci today submitted Maine’s application for $39 million in federal funds from the Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act approved by Congress and signed by President Obama last week.

“These funds will flow quickly to school districts throughout Maine and will help protect teaching and other education jobs, and preserve the quality of education in our schools at a difficult financial time,” Governor Baldacci said. “This funding will help local school districts save jobs today, and can be carried over to next year, providing further financial assistance to schools.”

The funds can be used to rehire, avoid layoffs, restore furlough days and other salary-related items for teachers, principals, librarians, food service personnel, bus drivers and other school positions that provide school-level educational and related services.

The program allows funds to be used by school districts before the end of September 2012. Because schools have already made budget decisions for the current year, some may choose to use some of the funds to help address anticipated reductions next school year, when federal Recovery Act funds are no longer available. It will be up to school boards and administrators to make those decisions locally.

The legislation gives states two options for distributing the additional funding: through state funding formulas or through the federal Title 1 funding formula.

“As we have been forced to make reductions in General Purpose Aid for education, we have used our state funding formula,” Governor Baldacci said. “The most equitable way to distribute these new resources is through that same formula.”

Maine’s application will be reviewed and approved quickly and funds are expected to flow to Maine within two weeks of approval of the application. States have until Sept. 9 to apply, but Governor Baldacci said he wanted to move sooner than that.

“We know that schools have had to make difficult choices this past year, and they will be asked to do that again next year,” Governor Baldacci said. “We need to give them every available resource as quickly as possible to allow them to work in the best interests of their employees and students.”

Schools will be required to report on the use of the funds using the same guidelines as with Recovery Act funds to streamline the reporting process.

Information on the funds and their distribution can be found at www.ed.gov/programs/educationjobsfund