$91.5 Million In Stimulus Funds Promptly Released To Vermont Will Strengthen Schools And Ease Vermont’s Budget Shortfall

(THURSDAY, April 2, 2009) -- Senator Patrick Leahy (D), Senator Bernie Sanders (I) and Congressman Peter Welch (D) Thursday said the Obama Administration’s release of $91.5 million in stimulus grants to Vermont will backstop support for the state’s schools and ease Vermont’s budget deficit.  The newly released funds, distributed by the U.S. Department of Education, are among Vermont’s largest and most urgently anticipated dividends under the recently enacted economic recovery act.

Seven grants for education and state stabilization, totaling $91.5 million, represent the first half of education grants to flow to Vermont under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which the President signed on Feb. 17.  The funds are directed to both state and local agencies through the Title I and IDEA programs to help disadvantaged youths and fund special education programs, Independent Living Programs, services for older individuals who are blind, vocational rehabilitation, and the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund.

Leahy said, "School budgets are under enormous pressure in this economic downturn.  These timely funds will ease that pressure.  The President and Education Secretary Arne Duncan have done what they promised to do in promptly putting these funds to work in our schools.  This installment of funds will also ease Vermont’s budget shortfall in ways that will make a difference to Vermonters throughout the state’s budget."

Sanders said, "No one doubts that our education system is in very serious trouble.  Too many students are not learning what we expect them to learn, and too many are dropping out before they get a high school degree.  We must accept the basic principle that education is not an expense but an investment in the future well-being of our nation."

Welch said, "Students and teachers should not bear the brunt of this economic downturn.  As parents throughout Vermont wonder whether their local schools will have the resources to educate their children, these funds signal a solid commitment to quality education."

The Delegation released this summary of the education and fiscal stabilization grants to Vermont under this first-half installment of the education grants that will come to the state:

·?$12.8 million for Title I Grants under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which will be distributed to schools and school districts with high percentages of students from low-income families.

·?$12.8 million in IDEA Part B grants to states, $458,150 to IDEA Part B Preschool Grants, and $1.06 million to IDEA Part C Grants to Infants and Families.  The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) grants are targeted to help special education students in Vermont schools.

·?$900,000 for Vocational Rehabilitation programs will be used to provide training, assistance, and ongoing support to help persons with disabilities find employment in Vermont.

·?$242,913  for the Vermont Center for Independent Living, which works to promote the independence and rights of Vermonters with disabilities.

·?$63.1 million for the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund; 81.8 percent of these funds must be used for elementary, secondary and postsecondary education, and, as applicable, for early childhood education programs and services.  The remainder of these funds may be used to support other essential governmental services such as public safety.

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