Only 3.7 percent of the Education Jobs Fund grant money awarded to New Jersey public school districts last year has been spent so far, according to a recent report from the U.S. Department of Education. The data confirms that the vast majority of New Jersey school districts opted to save the funds for use in 2011-2012, as recommended by the state Department of Education last September.
Overall, New Jersey public schools received $268.1 million through the fund, part of the federal stimulus law, for use in 2010-2011 and/or 2011-2102. As of August 12, only $9.9 million of New Jersey's grant had been spent. The Education Jobs Fund money could be applied toward teaching positions and certain non-instructional expenditures.
When New Jersey’s award was announced, the administration cautioned school districts “to avoid spending decisions that would significantly grow future-year obligations that could prove to be unsustainable. In other words, these one-time funds should not only preserve critical jobs, they should provide your district with the breathing room needed to plan for educationally sound, balanced budgets in the austere days to come.”
Nationwide, school districts used 59.8 percent of the $9.85 billion Education Jobs Fund by August 12. Among the 50 states, New Jersey had spent the smallest portion of its award (only 3.7%). Four states – Georgia, Missouri, Montana and Pennsylvania – have used 100 percent of their Jobs Fund grants.