With the passage of a $26 billion aid package Tuesday to help states pay for Medicaid and teacher salaries, most state budgets will get some help in paying for education programs, but states not facing massive teacher layoffs and cutbacks are also set to receive millions in federal money.I suppose it's a good thing not to be giving the money just to the spendthrift states, but this little detail just goes to show how little thought was put into how to spend this money.
The federal government estimates that the bill will save 161,000 teaching jobs, but North Dakota, Tennessee, Arkansas, Alaska and a handful of other states have kept their educational pay rolls full despite the recession, which has drastically lowered government revenues around the country. Since the new bill provides funds based on state population and the number of children in school, these states will receive funds even if their budgets are in the black. This has some employees at state education departments wondering exactly how they will spend all the fresh cash.
Arkansas, for example, has a fully funded teaching staff for the coming year, but the state will still receive up to $91 million for teaching jobs.
And here's another cute detail. Some of the states still haven't spent all the money they got from the first stimulus package from last year.
There are also states that are receiving new funds that have not even finished spending the money they received for education from last year’s stimulus bill. Illinois and West Virginia are still holding onto $670 million and $274 million of unspent stimulus money, respectively. Over the next few months Illinois will get another $415 million and West Virginia will collect $55 million for education.It's all happy money so why should these little details matter? They can just get Ben Bernanke to print some more, right?
(Link from Michelle Malkin.)