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More salvation than stimulation

Local educators say stimulus could save more jobs than it creates

Posted: March 4, 2009 2:16 a.m.
Updated: March 4, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
Local educators said Tuesday schools’ share of the federal stimulus package might not create jobs, but it will save some.

“I agree that this money will not stimulate new jobs, but it fills about 25 percent of the hole in state-revenue reduction in our district, and it will save jobs in the Newhall School District,” said Marc Winger, Newhall School District superintendent.

The Newhall district faces a $3 million cut to its $57 million budget for the 2009-10 fiscal year.

At College of the Canyons, the stimulus package will increase funding for Pell Grants, so it will help students who qualify for the need-based financial aid-grant program, said Sue Bozman, spokeswoman for COC.

“That’s a very direct stimulus,” Bozman said.

The community college offers a range of training programs for students to train for new careers and find new jobs, including its nursing program, which meets the demand for thousands of nurses across the state, Bozman said. The stimulus money will aid such training programs.

While the college could receive federal stimulus money through grants and job-training programs, the details of “the how-much” comes to COC remains in question, Bozman said.

Meanwhile, Congressman Howard P. “Buck” McKeon said spending $100 billion in stimulus money on education might be a bad idea.

McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, and other Republicans on the Education and Labor Committee have questioned the nearly $100 billion in education spending in the $787 billion economic stimulus package.

McKeon sent a letter to U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan last week asking how the Department of Education plans to ensure funds are spent wisely.

“Taxpayers are being asked to finance more than $1 trillion in the name of economic recovery — funds that must be borrowed or paid for through tax increases,” McKeon said.

“The Education Department bears a tremendous responsibility in the dollars it spends and the reforms it demands. With so much at stake, Republicans are lining up to protect the interests of students and taxpayers.” McKeon wrote in the letter.

While much of the funding is directed toward programs that Republicans support, like Pell Grants and special education, the immediate economic benefit of this spending infusion is uncertain at best, Republicans say.

The package funding is due to run out in two years.

“The question of what happens in two years is a concern for all,” Winger said.

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