Report: School stimulus funds not used as intended

The Department of Education’s inspector general reports that some states are using stimulus dollars to replace money they’ve cut from their education budget, National Public Radio reports — despite instructions to the contrary. When the department began releasing stimulus funds last April, it told states the money was to be used to boost funding for schools and colleges and protect key programs and jobs. And from the get-go, the Obama administration’s message to states was that stimulus funds earmarked for education were to "supplement, not supplant" state funding for schools and colleges. Nonetheless, it wasn’t long before the Education Department started hearing about states playing what it called "shell games" with stimulus funds. In its report about how states were spending stimulus funds, the inspector general’s office found that over a dozen states are inappropriately using stimulus dollars to replace the money they’re cutting from education. It specifically cited Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut. According to Jon Shure of the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, 25 states have cut funding for K-12 education, and 34 have cut higher-education funding. Shure says that the stimulus has covered no more than 30 percent of states’ budget shortfalls…

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