Charlie Earl, Executive Director of the State Board of Community and Technical Colleges on Friday, March 20, sent the following memo regarding the federal economic stimulus package to all community and technical colleges in Washington.
TO: Community and Technical Colleges
FROM: Charlie Earl
DATE: March 20, 2009
SUBJECT: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Update
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) provides the Washington community and technical colleges with an unprecedented opportunity to increase access and achievement for hundreds of students. While the framework for implementing the ARRA is still unfolding at the federal level, the State Board office is working with Governor Gregoire and partner agencies to use these funds to maximize delivery of quality educational programs and services.
By the end of next week, we expect the Senate and House fiscal chairs to release their legislative budget proposals. This will give us a better idea of how the Legislature is planning to use State Fiscal Stabilization funds and Federal Medicaid funds to mitigate the state budget deficit.
We have been consistent in our message to the Governor, the Legislature, and partner agencies. The community and technical colleges are the providers of both short-term and long-term training and skill development for unemployed, dislocated, and low-income Washingtonians. Further, education and skill development in high demand occupations are essential to Washington’s recovery process. With additional federal stimulus or state resources for enrollment capacity, the community and technical colleges will deliver.
Governor Gregoire has emphasized the following core principles to guide agencies’ planning for use of the ARRA funds:
- Get money in people’s pockets immediately;
- Create or save jobs in the near-term;
- Make innovative investments in areas that lay the foundation for Washington’s 21st century economy;
- Create strategic alliances with the private sector, non-profits, local governments, and other state agencies that align goals and magnify the effect of resources; and
- Be accountable and transparent.
Attached is a list (click here for list) of ARRA programs the State Board office is closely following. The Governor is pursuing a coordinated strategy between her office and the Legislature, State Board, college districts, and partners.
In the past week, OFM and the Governor’s Office have become more explicit in describing the proposal and approval processes for various funding categories. Of all the categories of funding, there are at least three broad process categories.
1) Those funds that will be applied directly to relieve the state budget by the Legislature and the Governor. (The $820 million K-12/Higher Education Fiscal Stabilization Fund is an example.)
2) Funds that must be applied for; however, they are distributed to states by formula. (WIA funds are an example.)
3)Funds that will be distributed by proposal, competition, and grants directly to the eligible institutions. (NSF funds are an example.)
The attached funding category descriptions will clarify the proposal and approval processes to a degree; but, admittedly, much more guidance is needed. In many cases detailed information about how specific programs will be implemented is not yet available. The Governor has asked agencies to submit a Recovery Plan and other details by March 31. We will briefly discuss our office’s efforts to develop this plan at next week’s WACTC meeting (March 26-27). This document will be updated as new information becomes available and posted on the State Board website.
Below are two additional sources for information on recovery funding.
State website: http://www.recovery.wa.gov
Gov. Gregoire’s ARRA website describes the recovery package, funding requirements, and timelines. It serves as a “one-stop” location for expenditure and accountability information.
Federal website: www.recovery.gov
President Obama’s ARRA website enables citizens to monitor the progress of recovery. The site will include information about Federal grant awards and contracts, as well as formula grant allocations.