Big, fast, and stupid

When the federal government starts talking in billions, is it too much to ask that the money be well spent? Apparently so. In the rush to get funds out to states and districts ASAP, education stimulus dollars are being dispersed via a tangle of federal formulae. The result is that some districts in states like Wyoming, which face no budgetary woes, are getting larger checks than those in states like Utah, whose budgets are in the tank. "These formulas were the best vehicle for getting these emergency economic recovery funds out to school districts as quickly as possible, to help them immediately stave off layoffs," explained a spokeswoman for Representative George Miller. The Administration doesn't see much of a problem, either. "In this case, people are just extraordinarily thankful for these unprecedented resources," explained Secretary Duncan. "So I'm aware of these disparities, but we've received zero complaints." No kidding! Keep in mind that the Secretary speaks mostly to educators. We suspect that if he conversed with taxpayers who are themselves "under water," he might spot some concerns about bailing out school districts that are just doing just fine.

"Some Rich Districts Get Richer as Aid is Rushed to Schools," by Sam Dillon, New York Times, March 22, 2009

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