Stimulus could bring millions to schools

February 2, 2009 7:20:20 PM PST
The stimulus bill would bring millions to local school districts. On Monday Congresswoman Jackie Speier laid out the dollar amount schools in San Mateo County are expected to get over the next two years.

Schools expect to get a big chunk of any stimulus plan that gets to the president's desk and that money will start showing up almost immediately.

"The expectation is either by the first of March, or 60 days. Oh, it's 60 days. They know the date better than I do," said Rep. Jackie Speier (D) of San Mateo.

They are just a few representatives from Bay Area school districts desperately waiting for an infusion of federal funds.

For example, take San Mateo County with 23 school districts. They expect to receive $35 million over the next two years. Of that money, $21 million would go to special education. That means school districts won't have to tap into their general funds to pay for special education programs.

An additional $5 million would go to Title 1 education, in other words the No Child Left Behind Act, and $9 million would go toward construction projects.

"As soon as this is approved, this money is out the door to shovel ready projects in this county," said Jean Holbrook, from the San Mateo County Office of Education.

"There are ongoing deferred maintenance needs. Furnaces need to be replaced, roofs need to be redone," said Mateo Rizzo, from the Jefferson Elementary School District.

These federal funds come at a time when school districts face deep budget cuts from the state. Without it, San Francisco's school superintendent says some districts would fail.

"You're going to start seeing an increase of a lot of school districts that just won't be able to sustain their school districts," said Carlos Garcia, from the San Francisco Unified School District.

San Francisco Unified could get nearly $41 million.

"Taxpayers are paying for it over the next 20 or 30 years so truly the young people who are in this audience here today are the ones who are going to pay for it, because we are borrowing the money," said Rep. Speier.

Taxpayers can keep track of how the money is being spent by going to It'll show you if the projects are on time and on budget.