Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 23
 
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
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$891 Million in Federal Aid Announced; “Tremendous Boost” for Students, Educators

Ellen Gilbert

At a recent appearance in Newark, U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced that more than $891 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding is now available for New Jersey schools. The funding comes from the State Stabilization Fund designed to protect teaching jobs and modernize schools.

“At a time when our state is struggling to meet even its existing financial aid obligations to New Jersey districts, this federal assistance will be a tremendous boost to enabling us to well serve all students across the state,” said Princeton Regional School District Superintendent Judy Wilson on hearing the news. “Too many of our buildings in New Jersey are in need of renovations to support 21st century programs, and far too many teachers have been laid off at a time when the standards and expectations for student success are increasing rapidly.”

U.S. Representative Rush Holt (D-12), who was appearing with Mr. Duncan in Newark as part of his “Listening and Learning: A Conversation About Education Reform” tour, also hailed the announcement. “This is good news for New Jersey students and educators,” he said. “This economic recovery funding will enable school districts to stave off devastating teacher layoffs and to invest in much needed school modernization. I’m pleased Secretary Duncan could make this announcement while visiting New Jersey, and I will continue to work with him to strengthen our education system, including bolstering our investment in math and science.”

Prior to this funding, New Jersey received more than $289 million in education recovery funding, including $91 million in Title I funding, $192 million in IDEA (Individuals With Disabilities Act) funding, as well as $5 million in Vocational Rehabilitation Grants and more than $1 million in Independent Living Grants. The state also received $240,000 in Impact Aid funding.

These funds represented 50 percent of the total Title I and IDEA funding for which the state is eligible. New Jersey will be eligible to apply for another $439 million in education funding in the fall.

Title I funding figures for individuals can be found at www.nj.gov/education/arra/arra_t1_prelim.pdf. IDEA funding figures for individual school districts can be found at www.nj.gov/education/arra/idea.pdf.

“I am always appreciative of Congressman Holt’s understanding of the educational challenges and issues and of his deep support for public education,” said Ms. Wilson. “I hope that he has Secretary Duncan’s ear and attention for years to come!”

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