State Capitol News
11:41 am
Fri July 17, 2009

Arizona schools receive extra stimulus money

Phoenix, AZ – Public schools are going to get twice as much in stimulus cash as
they expected -- at least for the time being -- all because
federal officials say someone at the state didn't follow
instructions.

The governor's office put $250 million into the budget for K-12
education for the fiscal year just ended, a figure based on the
amount of money Arizona anticipated in federal stimulus funds.
The plan was to reimburse the state treasury once the check came
from Washington. Only thing is, that's illegal according to
Sandra Abrevaya, spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of
Education. And she said none of this should come as a surprise to
Arizona officials.

(According to law as it has always been written, the stimulus
education dollars have to go directly to school districts. Taking
education dollars and moving them into the state treasury is just
not an allowable use under law.)

Abrevaya said once the state does get its education stimulus
funds it has no choice but to forward them to the schools, on top
of what was pre-funded. Gubernatorial press aide Paul Senseman
insisted the state did follow the instructions. And he defended
the decision to give the schools the money up front.

(It's the intent of the Brewer administration to make certain
that they didn't go without while we were waiting to get the
proper obligations fulfilled to the federal government. And we've
accomplished that.)

Senseman said it remains to be seen if the state can get back the
extra funding from the schools sometime in the future.