Stimulus Update: House Passes Conference Report; EETT Scaled Back

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The United States House of Representatives voted today to adopt the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 as modified in the Conference Report. In the latest version of the stimulus package, funding for education technology was scaled back from what would have been a record high of about $1 billion down to $650 million.

The new allocation is less than the $696 million funding level set back in 2004 but about two and a half times the level set in recent years. The new funding, under the heading "School Improvement Programs," will flow through Title II, Part D of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA).

Other direct K-12 education funding highlights from the latest stimulus package include:

  • $13 billion for Title 1;
  • $53.6 billion for the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund, which includes $39.5 billion for helping to stave off cutbacks or for school modernization, and $8.8 billion for "high priority needs such as public safety and other critical services, which may include education and for modernization, renovation and repairs of public school facilities and institutions of higher education facilities";
  • $12.2 billion for IDEA; and
  • $200 million for, among other things, a national assessment of the value of "performance"-based compensation systems.

The House adopted the Conference Report with a vote of 246-183, with no Republicans voting for it and seven Democrats voting against it.

Speaking at a press conference today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said: "It is a day for us to feel some sense of satisfaction that, working together under our new President, we were able to pass new legislation today that is transformational [in] what it will do to our economy. On the steps of the Capitol one week and one day before Congress acted the first time, the President inspired the nation with a message of hope that we would take the country in a new direction. We said we will harness the sun and the wind and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And he went on to talk about 21st century education and investments in health and science ... and innovation to help make us competitive. These and other things were contained in his promise to America. One week and one day after that Congress passed a bill that did just that. And today we followed through with the Conference Report that, as the President requested, [delivers] swift, bold action."

The Senate will now consider the latest version of the bill. A final vote could come as early as today.

A PDF of the scanned text of the stimulus package can be found here. "School Improvement" starts on page 168.

About the Author

David Nagel is the executive producer for 1105 Media's online K-12 and higher education publications and electronic newsletters. He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. He can now be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/THEJournalDave (K-12) or http://twitter.com/CampusTechDave (higher education). You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=10390192.

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