Berkeley School District Will Receive Stabilization Funds

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday April 16, 2009 - 09:59:00 PM

The U.S. Department of Education Friday approved $4.9 billion in funds for California’s public schools over the next two years, which will help prevent teacher layoffs and improve student achievement. 

California was the first state to benefit from the State Fiscal Stabilization Funds, part of the Obama administration's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, State Board of Education President Ted Mitchell and State Superintendent of Schools Jack O’Connell applied for the funds a week ago. 

Both Schwarzenegger and O’Connell urged school districts to apply for their share of funds immediately. School districts and other local educational agencies will be able to apply for the funds online. 

Berkeley Unified School District officials have not announced how much the district will apply for, nor how much they expect the district to receive. Superintendent Huyett could not be reached for comment before press time. 

However, Huyett told the Planet in an April 8 interview that the state stabilization funds would help offset the district’s $8 million budget deficit and prevent layoffs. 

  The district handed out 130 layoff notices to teachers in March, but rescinded most of them. The total number of layoff notices is now down to 25, said district spokesperson Mark Coplan.