October 19, 2009
Statement by Randi Weingarten,
American Federation of Teachers
On Success of Recovery Act in Saving Education Jobs
The White House announced today that preliminary data indicate the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) has helped state governments save or create thousands of education jobs nationwide.
WASHINGTON—The federal stimulus funds for education were a lifeline for states, schools, students and their educators. By saving thousands of teacher and school staff jobs that were threatened due to a significant drop in state revenue, schools were able to start this fall with minimal disruption for children. Some of the programs that were preserved are helping children whose families are in dire circumstances because of the recession. The trick now is to find ways to ensure schools get help next year, when we expect public education’s financial challenges to peak.
Several AFT leaders have been able to quantify how Recovery Act funds were used in their school districts. Some examples:
Boston—ARRA funds helped avert at least 400 layoffs. However, local leaders fear that Boston will face a similar deficit next year, putting those jobs in jeopardy once again.
Cleveland—ARRA funds helped avoid about 200 school system layoffs. Without more funding in the pipeline, the district could lose 100-125 positions in the next year.
Dearborn, Mich—ARRA funds helped save 100 education jobs.
Philadelphia —The school district avoided expected layoffs and was able to hire 200 much-needed counselors with ARRA funds.
Pittsburgh—ARRA funds helped create a “Summer Middle Grades Camp” to give academic support and enrichment to every middle school student next summer. It also will create about 300 new jobs.
Toledo, Ohio—ARRA funds helped avert 88 layoffs. The city is anticipating deficits over the next one to three years.
Alabama—About 3,700 jobs have been kept in place statewide thanks to ARRA funds.
Florida—ARRA funds helped save thousands of education jobs and avoid layoffs.
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The AFT represents more than 1.4 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.