The $787 billion federal economic stimulus package signed by President Barack Obama this week will bring an estimated $56 million to the Long Beach Unified School District over the next two years.
The funding comes at a time when LBUSD is struggling to close a $70 million gap in its budget due to the state’s fiscal crisis. Earlier this week, the LBUSD Board of Education took a step toward notifying 46 administrators, counselors and social workers that they could be laid off this year. The step was preliminary and does not mean that the warnings will be issued or that layoffs will occur.
LBUSD is still looking at ways to reduce expenditures because of the size of the state budget shortfall and in turn LBUSD’s budget shortfall.
“We have no idea how much money we will have from the state over the next 18 months, but we know it will be significantly less,” said Christopher J. Steinhauser, superintendent of schools.
Of the approximately $56 million in stimulus funding, about $35.7 million would come in the form of Title I funds, used in schools that have large numbers of students who are socioeconomically disadvantaged. About $20.5 million would be used for special education. Special education programs encroach significantly on the school district’s general fund, so the special education funding will help to alleviate pressure on the general fund.
The state also is slated to receive “stabilization” funding from the federal stimulus package, to help with the state’s estimated deficit. How much of that stabilization funding LBUSD will see remained unclear this week.