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Home > Recovery > Questions and Answers

Recovery Questions and Answers

To help you incorporate Recovery funds into your schools, we have developed the following Q&A.

If your questions are not answered here, please contact the Department’s Ed Recovery Team.

 

Are there any wage requirements associated with the use of ARRA funds?

This answer is from the U.S. Department of Education: Yes. Any laborers and mechanics employed by contractors or subcontractors on construction, modernization, renovation, or repair projects assisted in whole or in part with ARRA funds must be paid in accordance with the prevailing wage requirements as determined by the Secretary of Labor in accordance with subchapter IV of chapter 31 of title 40 of the United States Code (commonly called “Davis-Bacon and related acts”). (See also 20 U.S.C. 1232b Labor Standards and Section 1606 of the ARRA.) Contracts must include language that acknowledges that all contractors or subcontractors must pay laborers and mechanics employed under the contract no less than the locally prevailing wages for corresponding work on similar projects in the area. The Davis-Bacon Act directs the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to determine such locally prevailing wage rates.

If you need information about the prevailing wage rates in your community, you should contact the DOL regional office serving your geographic location. A list of the regional offices with contact information can be found at the following website: http://www.dol.gov/esa/contacts/whd/america2.htm#content. You can also find additional Davis-Bacon and other prevailing wage information at the following DOL website: http://www.dol.gov/esa/whd/programs/dbra/faqs.htm.

The DOL regional offices may also provide guidance as to where the required weekly payroll submissions referenced in the Davis-Bacon regulations (see 29 C.F.R. 3.3 and 3.4) should be sent. Your State Department of Labor (or equivalent) may also provide further guidance on these types of issues. (4/23/09)


Can Stabilization funds received this fiscal year be used to make the first payment on high school laptops; and can we be invoiced before July 1?

Yes to both. Contact Jeff Mao, MLTI policy leader.

Also, for a full Q&A on the MLTI expansion, visit the MLTI website. (4/23/09)


UPDATED:What funds can be used for MLTI?

Under NCLB the following funds can be used for laptops: 1) Title IID Educational Technology; 2) Under transferability, an SAU can transfer up to 50% of Title IIA teacher quality and/or Title IVA Safe & Drug Free Schools into Title IID and then use the funds for MLTI; 3) A REAP- Flex SAU can use up to all its Title IIA teacher quality and/or Title IVA Safe and Drug-free funds using the REAP-Flex authority under Titles IID or Title V; 4) Title VI Rural Low Income up to 100%; and 5) Title VI Rural Small Schools up to 100% .

Title I funds can be used for children in a Title I "schoolwide" school which is part of an SAU. We are seeking additional guidance on the use of Title I funds in "targeted" Title IA SAUs.

In addition, please read this guidance from the U.S. Department of Education on the use of State Fiscal Stabilization Funds:

III-D-6. How much flexibility do LEAs have in determining the activities to support with Education Stabilization funds? LEAs (including charter school LEAs) have considerable flexibility in determining how best to use Education Stabilization funds. As stated previously, an LEA may use these funds for, among other things, activities that are authorized under the ESEA. Because the ESEA includes the broad Impact Aid authority (see Title VIII of the ESEA), an LEA may use Education Stabilization funds for activities that would be allowable under Impact Aid. This flexibility applies to all LEAs that receive Education Stabilization funds, and is not limited to those LEAs that also receive Impact Aid funds. Most funds that the Department awards under Impact Aid are considered to be general aid to LEAs. Thus, under the Impact Aid authority, an LEA may use Education Stabilization funds for educational purposes consistent with State and local requirements, subject to ARRA and other applicable Federal requirements, including the limited prohibitions referenced in Question III-D-2. Because an LEA may consider Education Stabilization funds to be available for any activity authorized under Impact Aid, the funds may be used to support both current expenditures and other expenses such as capital expenditures. Among other things, the Education Stabilization funds may be used for activities such as: paying the salaries of administrators, teachers, and support staff; purchasing textbooks, computers, and other equipment; supporting programs designed to address the educational needs of children at risk of academic failure, limited English proficient students, children with disabilities, and gifted students; and meeting the general expenses of the LEA. It is important to note, however, that all funds appropriated under the ARRA (including Education Stabilization funds that an LEA uses for activities authorized under Title VIII of the ESEA) will be subject to stringent reporting requirements, which is in contrast to the minimal reporting requirements in place for funds appropriated under Title VIII of the ESEA (Impact Aid).

For additional information/questions, please contact Jaci Holmes (Jaci.Holmes@maine.gov) or Dennis Kunces (Dennis.Kunces@maine.gov).

You can also view additional information and a Q&A regarding the MLTI expansion. (4/14/09; updated 4/23/09)


Will proposed special and regular ed tech hour reductions of 2.5 hours/week/full time ed tech be able to be restored using the recovery funds?

Federal rules allow Recovery funds to be used for special education purposes and for many regular education purposes. It is up to local superintendents and school boards to determine which reductions to restore, within what is allowed by federal law and rules. (3/25/09)


Will any of the federal stabilization funds be distributed to minimum receiver SAU's to restore the cut from 84% to 50%.

Funds for minimum special education receivers were reduced from 50% to 45% in the curtailment for the current fiscal year and in the proposed FY 10 budget. Stabilization funds will restore that back to 50% for both years. (3/24/09)


UPDATED:Will Title I funds under ARRA be distributed to SAUs that only receive minimum special education subsidy/debt service?

Title I funds will be distributed to SAUs with at least 10 students who qualify for free lunch and a 5 percent free lunch poverty level using federal distribution procedures for Targeted Need and Education Financial Incentive Grant funds – both subsets of Title I. (3/24/09; updated 4/23/09)


What construction funds are available in the Recovery package?

While original versions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act considered by Congress included significant funds dedicated to school modernization, the final version contained none. However, school systems may use as much as 100 percent of the Stabilization funds that come to them for school modernization and renovation, and may use some of the Title I funds that come to them for the same purpose. The funds may not be used for new construction, with some exceptions. (See separate question on the use of funds for modernization and renovation.)(3/23/09)


Do private schools have the ability to access Recovery funds and/or Stabilization funds?

Private schools cannot access Stabilization funds. However, if a private school currently receives Title I or IDEA allocations, it will receive additional allocations under those programs. (3/22/09)


Are the Title I Recovery funds part of NCLB? How do we tie the Recovery funds to the NCLB performance report?

Recovery Act Title I funds are in addition to the regular Title I funds. The Title I application will have separate budget sheets for reporting on the spending of each set of funds separately. (3/22/09)


Can funds be used for contracted services instead of adding positions?

Yes. (3/22/09)


Can funds be carried forward if not spent in FY 09 to be used in FY 10 budgets as balance forward?

Yes. Funds may be carried forward. (3/22/09)


Stabilization funds will be used to restore funds curtailed in the current fiscal year (FY09). How else will they be used?

State Fiscal Stabilization Funds are meant to address the shortfalls and curtailments that states have faced and will face. In FY09 we will flow $27.8 million back to SAUs to restore the current year curtailment. The funds will be distributed according to the state’s existing funding formula. The remaining ARRA funds will be distributed as follows: $43 million in FY 10 and $58.8 million in FY 11, also according to the state's existing funding formula. (3/22/09; updated 1/26/11)


Is there any transferability between titles for the Recovery money? For example, Title I to IID?

No, there is no transferability between titles under the awards for each individual title and IDEA. However, Stabilization funds allow for great flexibility and maximizing all possible uses within ESEA. (3/23/09)


How can a school unit keep in line with EPS pupil-teacher ratios if an objective of the Recovery Act is to add positions?

It is a difficult balance. In education, most of the focus is on protecting jobs more than on creating new ones. We made a commitment at the Convocation to review the EPS funding formula in regards to Title I funds. We believe the removal of Title I funds from the EPS formula will possibly increase the ratios. Each of district will need to look at unique circumstances for the use of Title I Recovery funds. (3/23/09)


If a new RSU has a former SAU with an approved four-year-old program, can another program be added elsewhere in the new RSU as an expansion of the existing program, without requesting another approval?

Yes. In an effort to streamline, the Commissioner will not require an additional application. (3/22/09)


Given that there has been an increase in state-equalized valuations, particularly in some rural districts, which do not reflect the state of the economy, is it possible to lower the mill expectation for FY 09-10?

We don’t yet know what the mill rate will be. Our intent is to use federal Recovery funds to keep the mill rate as low as possible. (3/22/09)


Please talk about adding new positions with Recovery funds, juxtaposed with the need for sustainability after the funds go away.

It is a difficult balance. Districts might consider short-term positions to begin a new type of instructional process as an appropriate use of Recovery funds. Districts may also wish to hire independent consultants for energy audits and improvements, or to conduct curriculum alignments, train teachers in reading literacy instructional strategies, etc. (3/22/09)


UPDATED:Is school construction a permissible use of stimulus funds?

Renovation of an existing building to expand the instructional space would be a permitted “school modernization” use of State Fiscal Stabilization Funds. IDEA funds can be used for modernization and for construction with prior approval by the Maine Department of Education, which must also pursue USDE approval on behalf of the SAU (3/22/09; updated 4/23/09)