Welcome to Laurie Goodman's blog. I use this space to share news and opinions about education and schools in Ridgewood, the state of New Jersey and the nation, in addition to other issues I'm personally interested in. I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, questions or opinions, too, by posting comments on any blog entry. Please observe basic courtesy -- keep your comments focused on issues, no personal attacks or bullying, please. Contact me directly at: lauriegood@mac.com

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Where's our "Obama stimulus money?"

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) was designed to stimulate the economy in the short term and invest in education and other essential public services to ensure the long-term economic health of our nation. The Act appropriated new funding for programs under Parts B and C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Ridgewood Public Schools were awarded $1,195,766 under ARRA/IDEA. There were many rules and stipulations that accompanied the funds (you can read all the fine print here), with the main point being the funds were to be used primarily for Special Ed. Our district administration put together a distribution plan, which Dr. Fishbein presented (and the Board of Education approved) at the BOE meeting on 9/14/09. Here's how it breaks down:

Preschool - Curriculum & Supplies (RED Program) ($41,768)
SAIL Program –Start-up ($48,579)
Differentiated Curriculum (Development and RTI Training ($12,206)
Renovations at Somerville ($30,720)
Additional LLD Classroom ($10,000)
Student Information System SE ($31,972)
Evaluation Materials CST ($40,000)
Augmentative Devices ($29,240)
Assistive Technology ($148,760)
Multi-Sensory Reading – Training and Supplies ($50,000)
Middle School RISE/ADL Equip. Purchase ans Installation ($20,000)
Storage of SE Files ($53,043)
Autism Class – Start-Up Costs ($93,885)
Instructional Supplies/Non-public ($1,302)
Tuition ($580,292)
Total - $1,195,766

Because we were allowed to use a portion of the funds for tuitions (which we pay for out of district special ed placements), we were able to free up additional funds for allowable (non-special ed) items not included in the ARRA requirement:

3 Busses (2/24seats &1/16 seats) – ($150,000)
Student Management System Skyward ($235,404)
Virtual Learning Communities ($29,600)
Textbooks ($165,288)
Total - $580,292

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