City schools would get $5.2 million in extra funding during the next two years under the proposed federal stimulus package that’s under review in the U.S. House this week in Washington.
The extra money – over and above the allocations that Bristol expected – is earmarked for low-income school districts, special education and school construction funding.
Mayor Art Ward said the additional funds will help officials cope with anticipated reductions in state education aid as the General Assembly and Gov. Jodi Rell scramble to fill a budget gap this year that’s approaching $1 billion.
According to U.S. Rep. John Larson’s office, Bristol is slated to get $3.33 million in additional federal school funds this year and $1.89 million next year under the stimulus package as it currently exists.
The $825 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s plan to pump money into a sputtering economy is expected to pass Congress by early spring. Some changes are likely as the measure is debated on Capitol Hill.
Bristol schools have a budget of about $100 million this year. To keep pace with rising costs, it would need at least another $5 million in the coming fiscal year, which begins July 1.
But with the state eyeing a $5 million cut in its funding for Bristol schools, there’s a $10 million gap that even the likely increase in federal help won’t fill.
Sill, as Ward said, it will help.
The money for Bristol schools in the stimulus package for 2009 includes $607,000 extra for Title 1, which targets low-income districts; $1.6 million more for construction assistance; and $1.1 million in additional special education money.
In the following year, Bristol would get another $607,000 in Title 1 funding and $1.28 million more for special education.
The base grants the city already anticipates would remain in place under the stimulus measure so that the extra would be added on top of the money educators expect.
Larson, one of the highest ranking Democrats in the U.S. House, is an East Hartford Democrat whose 1st District includes Bristol.
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