U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced on April 17, 2009 that nearly $4 billion is now available for California under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. California is the first state to benefit from a special fund for states that was created by the economic stimulus law.
Duncan said the money will "save jobs and lay the groundwork for a generation of education reform." California will be eligible to apply for another $2 billion this fall. The funding is being made available per California's successful completion of Part 1 of the State Stabilization Application, which was made available April 1.
According to the Department of Education, the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (SFSF) program is a new one-time appropriation under ARRA. The funding in the program could help save hundreds of thousands of teaching jobs nationwide at risk from state and local budget cuts, and also pay for projects to repair and modernize schools. In order to get the fund, California and other states had to submit applications that assure they will make progress in several areas, including teacher quality, turning failing schools around, allowing more charter schools to open and reporting whether state academic standards are rigorous enough. States also must set up sophisticated data systems to track student performance.
Duncan said he'll come down "like a ton of bricks" and withhold the next round of funds from anyone state or school that defies President Barack Obama's wish that the money be used to save teaching jobs and overhaul failing schools.