Several area school districts could receive a boost in Title I and special education funding as part of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, U.S. Congressman James Oberstar's office said Monday.
The House Committee on Education and Labor released detailed figures on how much money each school district in the U.S., including 12 area school districts, will receive under the federal stimulus package.
While an increase in federal funds is considered good news - the Brainerd School District could receive about $2.01 million - Brainerd Superintendent Steve Razidlo said two separate sources have told him that the numbers are only estimates and that the state Department of Education and Gov. Tim Pawlenty may decide to use some of those funds to replenish the state coffers. Razidlo said he heard Brainerd may get about 50 percent of its IDEA, Part B, allocation and some of these funds will have strict guidelines that may act like increased mandates. Razidlo said Brainerd historically has received significant federal dollars in Title I funds and that money tends to have fewer restrictions.
Title I funds are allocated to help impoverished students in a school district. IDEA, Part B, funds may be used to pay for special education costs incurred by school districts that the state and federal government do not fund.
Razidlo said that in four of the last six years, the Brainerd School District has had to pay as much as $3 million for special education programming that wasn't covered. Last year the district paid $2 million. Also, the federal government has cut Title I programming as much as 10 percent each year in recent years for Brainerd schools.
"To us, right now, these are only estimates," said Razidlo. "We're optimistic, we're hopeful, but as any other districts are doing, we're going to proceed with our budget and planning for the next year and look at the possibility of federal funding as a bonus and as a gift when it comes."
According to Oberstar's office, the following is a breakdown of how these additional allocations would be distributed to several area schools:
• Aitkin: $133,000 for Title I and $290,000 for IDEA, Part B, or special education funding.
• Brainerd: $604,000 for Title I and $1,495,000 for IDEA, Part B.
• Crosby-Ironton: $157,000 for Title I and $378,000 for IDEA, Part B.
• Little Falls: $222,000 for Title I and $682,000 for IDEA, Part B.
• Pequot Lakes: $91,000 for Title I and $247,000 for IDEA, Part B.
• Pierz: $72,000 for Title I and $204,000 for IDEA, Part B.
• Pillager: $55,000 for Title I and $160,000 for IDEA, Part B.
• Pine River-Backus: $169,000 for Title I and $293,000 for IDEA, Part B.
• Staples-Motley: $195,000 for Title I and $383,000 for IDEA, Part B.
• Verndale: $39,000 for Title I and $72,000 for IDEA, Part B.
• Wadena-Deer Creek: $158,000 for Title I and $327,000 for IDEA, Part B.
• Walker-Hackensack-Akeley: $130,000 for Title I and $244,000 for IDEA, Part B.
JODIE TWEED may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5858.
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