The survey by the American Association of School Administrators covered a variety of topics, from what funds have been received and how the funds are being used to what the funds mean to districts and general feedback about the stimulus funding. Their response was clear: Though the ARRA funds represent additional funding and an opportunity to make significant changes, the realities of strained federal, state and local budgets mean many of the dollars are simply backfilling budget holes. The budget holes, in addition to insufficient flexibility in the funding to allow for maximum use by local school districts, are sizeable obstacles that many districts have been unable to overcome in their efforts to use the stimulus dollars to save and preserve jobs and implement innovation and reform.
Other key findings include:
- Even when schools were dismissed for summer vacation, ARRA dollars were flowing to states and local school districts.
- AASA members have reported how difficult it is to implement innovation and reform when funding levels are cut or flat‐lined and the stimulus dollars are simply filling budget holes.
- - School districts across the country, following one of the major goals of the stimulus dollars, are using the one‐time funds to save teaching and staff positions.
- Outside of shoring‐up staff positions, school districts report they are investing ARRA funds in one‐time costs such as professional development, classroom technology and classroom supplies.
Ellerson, N. M., & Domenech, D. A. (2009). Schools and the stimulus: How America’s public school districts are using ARRA funds –August 2009. Alexandria, VA: American Association of School Administrators. https://www.aasa.org/uploadedFiles/Policy_and_Advocacy/files/AASAStimulusSurveyAug09.pdf