Americans driving, or walking, through blocks of shut-down businesses and foreclosed-upon homes while greeting their unemployed neighbors or perhaps looking for jobs themselves may wonder what happened to the so-called stimulus money that Congress voted to spend earlier this year. On Monday, the federal government provided part of the answer to that question.
“The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) provided approximately $100 billion to the U.S. Department of Education  (ED) with the initial goal of delivering emergency education funding to states,” the ED department reported on November 2, 2009. “Immediately after President Obama signed ARRA into law on February 17, 2009, ED acted swiftly to provide a large portion of these funds to states in response to drastic budget shortfalls.”
“Over $67 billion in formula grants were awarded as of September 30, 2009.” The agency goes on to break that down.
“The largest portion of ARRA funds, $35.4 billion, was delivered through the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (SFSF),” the ED department reveals. “In addition, $12.6 billion in ARRA funding was added to Title I, IDEA, and other formula grant programs, and $8.7 billion was allocated for Student Financial Assistance (Pell Grants and Federal Work Study).”
“As part of the unprecedented transparency requirements of ARRA, the first quarterly public accounting of all expenditures to date was posted by the Recovery, Accountability, and Transparency Board on October 30, 2009.” Meanwhile, as unemployment heads towards double digits, at least one group of professionals can breathe a sigh of relief.
“The data, now available on www.recovery.gov , indicate that approximately 400,000 jobs have been retained or created through ED grants,” the ED department claims. So that’s where they went.
“Of these jobs, 325,000 are specifically education jobs, with the remaining portion attributable to more general public service positions,” the Ed department shows. “It reveals that the rapid distribution of this funding helped states fill significant education budget gaps in order to avert layoffs of personnel in school districts and universities across the nation.”
For a more skeptical approach see the Associated Press , “Stimulus jobs overstated by thousands.”
Malcolm A. Kline is the executive director of Accuracy in Academia .