At Jan. 18th's board meeting, Larry Lehman spoke in front of the Plainfield School Board once again, stressing that the $5.7 million in stimulus money should be used to save jobs.
Plainfield School Board didn't respond in public comment nor do they have to.
Superintendent John Harper already said that an explanation on how and why the $5.7 million is being used will be addressed at the next board meeting which is at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 24 at the administration building, 15732 Howard St. in Plainfield.
Eric and Val Dierlam sent out an e-mail to board members last night after reading a district-wide weekly e-mail sent Friday by Spokesman Tom Hernandez.
Their e-mail to the board:
Dear Mr. Herandez and Board Members,
Tonight I read the following in Mr. Herandez' weekly newsletter:
At the January 11, 2011 Budget Deficit Public Forum, a community member asked why the district doesn't use the $5.7 million received from the federal jobs act this year to save teaching jobs.
District officials explained last fall when the 2010-11 budget was approved, that the $5.7 million in federal funds is a one-time revenue. The administration and Board of Education at that time agreed that using that money this year to save jobs is not the best use of this revenue, since the money is not expected to be available next year. In fact, doing so could actually compound our operating fund deficit next year, by creating new operating expenses without revenues to pay for them.
Consequently, district officials have been researching ways to use the money that will have longer-term benefits (for example, possibly paying down some short-term debt, which would help the operating fund, which in turn could help save jobs.) John Prince, Assistant Superintendent for Business and Operations is scheduled to outline some of those options at the January 24, 2011 Board of Education meeting.
I'm confused by this response. Below is an excerpt from the "Initial Guidance for States on the Education Jobs Fund Program" which I obtained from the Federal Department of Education website. I also have attached a copy of the document for your review.
Local Uses of Funds
D-1. For what purposes may an LEA use its Ed Jobs funds?
An LEA must use its funds only for compensation and benefits and other expenses, such as support services, necessary to retain existing employees, to recall or rehire former employees, and to hire new employees, in order to provide early childhood, elementary, or secondary educational and related services.
D-2. What categories of expenses may an LEA support with Ed Jobs funds?
For purposes of this program, the phrase "compensation and benefits and other expenses, such as support services" includes, among other things, salaries, performance bonuses, health insurance, retirement benefits, incentives for early retirement, pension fund contributions, tuition reimbursement, student loan repayment assistance, transportation subsidies, and reimbursement for childcare expenses.
D-3. Which employees may an LEA support with Ed Jobs funds?
An LEA may use the funds to pay the salaries of teachers and other employees who provide school-level educational and related services. In addition to teachers, employees supported with program funds may include, among others, principals, assistant principals, academic coaches, in-service teacher trainers, classroom aides, counselors, librarians, secretaries, social workers, psychologists, interpreters, physical therapists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, information technology personnel, nurses, athletic coaches, security officers, custodians, maintenance workers, bus drivers, and cafeteria workers.
D-4. What are the statutory prohibitions on an LEA's use of Ed Jobs funds?
The statute prohibits LEAs from using Ed Jobs funds for general administrative expenses as that term is defined by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) in its Common Core of Data. These prohibited expenses are administrative expenditures related to the operation of the superintendent's office or the LEA's board of education, including the salaries and benefits of LEA-level administrative employees.
The statute also prohibits LEAs from using Ed Jobs funds for other LEA-level support services expenditures as that term is defined in the Common Core of Data. These prohibited activities include the payment of expenditures for fiscal services, LEA program planners and researchers, and human resource services.
D-5. May an LEA use Ed Jobs funds to pay the salaries and benefits of an LEA-level administrative official who also teaches or has other school-level responsibilities?
For an individual with both LEA-level and school-level responsibilities, an LEA may use Ed Jobs funds to pay only that portion of the employee's salary and benefits associated with the time spent on allowable (i.e., school-level) activities. The LEA must maintain documentation substantiating that amount of time.
The above guidance clearly states that the funds are to be used for salaries for employees who provide educational services (i.e., teachers). It also prohibits that the funds be used to pay for general administrative expenses as was stated in the weekly newsletter above. Another prohibition is using the funds to pay for (district office) administrators such as the (distirct office) director's job that is now being saved by adopting the new busing schedule. Money saved from adopting the new busing schedule and the federal jobs money should be used for personnel who provide classroom level resources to our children. The most important people in this debate are our children. Decisions should be made for the good of the children not the adults involved.