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By Dr. John Urkevich, Executive Director

In February, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act– known to many as “stimulus money”- was signed into law. ARRA provides for over $100 billion for preschool, K-12 education and higher education. Allocating funding is not an easy task. The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education anticipates program guidance from the United States Department of Education on how to best utilize ARRA quickly and efficiently. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has established Transform Missouri Initiative, which reveals his vision of how to use ARRA funding. DESE is working with the governor’s office on the initiative. On a local level, St. Louis area superintendents have met at Cooperating School Districts to discuss what ARRA means their districts.

With ARRA, there will be several Formula Grants and Competitive Grants. Also, ARRA creates a new category of tax credit bonds. These bonds can be used for rehabilitation, construction or repair of school facilities. Land acquisition for the construction of schools also falls under the tax credit bond.

Another exciting opportunity to come from ARRA is increased funding to technology in education. Apple recently released a white paper on ARRA, Stimulus Opportunities for Integrating Technology with Educational Goals. Included was information about the short-term crisis and information about long-term opportunities, like 21st century learning: “[ARRA] recognized that technology is fundamental to teaching and learning in the 21st century— and includes ample opportunities for states and educators across American to leverage technology to meet their elementary, secondary and postsecondary priorities.”

For K-12 education, according to the white paper, “the stimulus package dedicates additional funding to existing technology programs, including the federal Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) program.” Increased broadband in rural areas, school modernization and additional funding for Special Education will result in ARRA.

I’ve only touched on what will come about from ARRA. For information from DESE on ARRA, click here. For information from Apple on ARRA, click here. Come back to Education Today to read future blog posts on this important topic.