ARLINGTON, Va. — The American Association of School Administrators (AASA) issued the following statement on the one-year anniversary of the economic stimulus package:
"One year ago today, President Obama made a critical investment in America's children by signing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). AASA members have voiced appreciation for the stimulus, which provided essential funding for schools during a time of severe budget shortfalls.
However, while the stimulus funds provided some relief, school districts nationwide continue to face steep funding shortfalls in spite of the stimulus. Current economic realities, including significant budget reductions at the state level, have forced districts in every part of the nation to make cuts that directly impact student learning and achievement and threaten to harm the core educational mission of schools.
As tight as school budgets are this year, next year will be worse as school districts nationwide face a looming 'funding cliff' at the end of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding.
It is critically important that Congress and the Obama Administration continue to ensure schools have the resources they need to protect American children from devastating program and staffing cuts and to fuel economic recovery and growth. In addition, states have an obligation to step up. States must not be allowed to play 'shell games' with federal dollars intended for schools."
AASA conducted a study based on a survey of school districts in September and October 2009 that found that a majority of respondents have eliminated personnel and anticipate further cuts.
In addition, 83 percent reported that ARRA dollars did not represent a funding increase. Only 13 percent reported that the ARRA dollars represented any increase above state and local funding levels. The data seem to illustrate a "shell game" in which state budgets were cut only after it was known that ARRA included money for education.