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- Tech Planning
Legislative Analyst's Office Recommends Changes to Use of ARRA Funds
In fall 2009, Governor Schwarzenegger submitted an expenditure plan for the one-time ARRA (American Recover and Reinvestment Act) EETT monies to the legislature. The expenditure plan was rejected by the legislature, who indicated that the plan "did not coordinate the use of the funds with other education data and technology efforts, especially in relation to developing a preschool through higher education (or “P‑20”) data system." Although the California Department of Education has read and scored the ARRA competitive applications, they are unable to fund them unless they receive legislative approval. As a result, ARRA Formula and Competitive funds are on hold, with the Legislative Analysts Office recommending that the funds be used for other state-wide data collection efforts.
The federal government currently provides several sources of funding for educational technology activities, including the Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) grant. In 2009‑10, the state received $29 million in ongoing EETT funding, as well as a one‑time ARRA grant of $72 million. According to federal guidelines, at least 95 percent of the grants must be given out to school districts, of which at least half must be distributed on a competitive basis. The remaining 5 percent can be used for state‑level activities.
The Legislative Analysts Office has recommended that the ARRA funds be redirected in a way to benefit local data efforts. Specifically, the LAO recommends directing half of the ARRA EETT funds to school districts that provide early childhood education to help integrate pre‑kindergarten data into the P‑20 system. The LAO recommends awarding the other half of EETT funds to districts serving high school students, with the funds used to help meet new postsecondary and workforce readiness data requirements. California is proposing to collect new high school‑level data, including Advanced Placement and Scholastic Aptitude Test scores, as well as participation in STEM courses. The LAO believes that the ARRA funds would help districts collect, report, and analyze early education and high school data.
On April 12, the budget subcommittee will be meeting to discuss the use of ARRA EETT funds. If you have questions, concerns, or want to express your opinion regarding the use of ARRA funds, please contact your local legislators.