Broward County (Fort Lauderdale)
Broward County Public Schools will use State Fiscal Stabilization Fund monies to save approximately 1,500 jobs that were at risk of elimination due to state and local revenue shortfalls.
The district is planning to allocate a portion of its ARRA funding to support its Effective Teaching Program, an effort designed to allow exemplary teachers to mentor other classroom teachers in order to guide, advise, coach, and assist them. The district also intends to create and save jobs through the retention and creation of positions for school-based instructional coaches, instructional facilitators, and instructional technology specialists. The district will spend its new Title I funds on technology and extended-learning and tutorial programs, as well as on efforts to enhance teacher quality through professional development, summer academies, content-specific coaching, and instructional-facilitator training.
Broward County Public Schools has similar plans for its new IDEA stimulus funding in terms of saving and creating jobs, and improving services to students. The district plans to use IDEA stimulus money to fund school-based instructional facilitators, exceptional student education (ESE) specialists, and psychologists. The district will also use ARRA funds to help special education students with transition services, specifically through job coaching, training, and career placement. In addition, special education will benefit from technology upgrades, new assistive technology, and technology upgrades in centers and ESE classrooms. As part of its effort to improve student services, Broward County Public Schools will use IDEA funds to improve instructional quality through additional professional development, training to expand teacher endorsements, and additional paraprofessionals and behavioral specialists.
The District’s Head Start Program received Quality Improvement ARRA funding to implement new curricula that are aligned with the K-3 educational state standards. The curricula focus on improving preschool students’ pre-literacy and mathematic skills. Additionally, the funding has been used to create a new database to enter Head Start applications electronically and monitor Head Start programmatic services.
The district will take advantage of the new bonding authority in the stimulus package—both the Qualified School Construction Bonds (QSCBs) and the Build America Bonds (BABs)—to make needed school-facility improvements and upgrades. BABs give the district access to a much larger taxable market by allowing the system to issue taxable debt and receive a federal payment for 35 percent of the interest expense.
The QSCBs program will have an even greater impact in Broward County. As one of the nation’s largest school districts, Broward County Public Schools received a specific allocation totaling almost $100 million over two calendar years. In January of 2009, the school board approved financing documents for school facility Certificates of Participation (COPs) to fund approximately $127 million in capital projects across the school district. Unfortunately, the credit crisis had created significant turmoil in the municipal bond market, and these disruptions made it economically impractical to sell the COPs. With the new school construction bonds available under ARRA, however, the district was able to pursue the opportunity to restructure the issue by taking advantage of the new federal interest–free bonds. On May 5, 2009, the School Board of Broward County approved a resolution authorizing district staff to proceed with the transaction.
For fiscal year 2010, the district will take advantage of the second portion of QSCB stimulus package offered. The Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act (HIRE Act), just signed in March of 2010, will allow the district the option to issue the QSCBs as an interest-bearing taxable bond and receive a federal cash subsidy payment to offset the interest costs. The School Board of Broward County is expected to review and authorize these financial transactions prior to closing.
Duval County (Jacksonville)
Duval County Public Schools will use ARRA funds to save or create approximately 900 jobs. The State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (SFSF) dollars will enable the district to reinstate positions that support the equal distribution of teachers, shore up struggling schools, and enhance the quality of academic assessments. The federal stimulus grant will allow elementary schools to receive the same level of supplemental funding as provided during the 2008-09 school year for art, music, physical education, and media learning, as well as save proposed cuts in the areas of guidance and academic coaching. The SFSF will also be used to provide positions to secondary schools based on the district’s Challenge School factor, base student allocation, and additional support services funding. These dollars will also be used to make intensive summer academies available for low-achieving students. All together, support from the SFSF is responsible for saving and creating 597 FTE positions in the school system.
ARRA funding will also allow Duval County Public Schools to reclassify 11 high schools and nine middle schools as Title I schools. Additionally, the district will use Title I funding to increase Pre-K services and summer school capacity, and to meet highly qualified teacher requirements and provide teacher incentives. Title I ARRA allocations will save 227 jobs in the district.
ARRA IDEA funding will be used in four main categories: creating and saving jobs; intervention and curricular development; professional development; and new technologies. ARRA funds will be used to restore 38 varying “exceptionality” positions and create more than 40 new positions. Thus, special education students will benefit from the services of additional speech language pathologists, a new specific learning disabilities specialist, a district-based specialist for parentally placed private school students, district-based transition specialists, a Pre-K disabilities teacher, a district-based emotional and behavior disabilities specialist, positive behavior support intervention specialists, and team-based transition coaches and mentors to support schools. In addition to those full-time positions, IDEA funding will be used to provide part-time hourly funding to establish Response to Intervention (RTI) and coordinated early intervening services facilitators at each school.
The district will also use one-time IDEA funds to purchase, upgrade, or replace technology. Duval County Public Schools will buy or replace assistive technology equipment and materials and will purchase specialized equipment and materials for students with disabilities served at three Exceptional Education Center schools. The district will upgrade technology and instructional methodologies for students served through the home or hospital program, and fund the enhancement and development of the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) student management system. In addition, Duval County Public Schools plans to replace audiological-assessment equipment and individual student support materials, as well as purchase Web-based legal, policy, and compliance resources. This new funding source will also be used to develop distance-learning capabilities for special education students.
To increase the effectiveness of instruction for special education students, IDEA funding under ARRA will be used to develop and enhance RTI assessment and data reporting materials and to fund essential academic offerings, interventions, and support. ARRA will allow Duval County Public Schools to continue funding both the Arts Access initiative for students with disabilities and the expansion of mental health support services. Further advances will include the purchase of a new social skills and behavioral management curriculum; funding for school-based exceptional student education liaison part-time positions; and the restoration of district-based exceptional education positions. Additionally, the district will provide funding to specified staff members during summer months to facilitate the completion of assessments and evaluations. It will also fund intensive reading remediation intervention methodologies.
Professional development for teachers, administrators and staff working in special education will also be supported through IDEA stimulus funding. The district plans to fund the 2009 and 2010 Exceptional Education Summer Academy, compliance training, and the Autism Spectrum Disorder Principal’s Academy with ARRA funds. It will also purchase professional crisis management materials; provide training and funding for school-based collaborative planning time for general education and special education teachers; and fund an autism-spectrum disorder endorsement for more than 100 district teachers.
The district will also receive an IDEA preschool grant under ARRA, and will use the funding to provide training for more than 100 prekindergarten disabilities teachers on an early childhood developmental assessment and early literacy and learning model curriculum and to provide expanded mental health support services to prekindergarten students with disabilities. In addition, the district will use ARRA funds to purchase organizational and social skills materials, supplies, and materials for sensory integration and visual and auditory arts materials.
Hillsborough County (Tampa)
Hillsborough County Public Schools convened a task force, co-chaired by the school system’s general director for special education and general director for federal programs (Title I), to develop recommendations on the use of ARRA funds. The task force included staff members from the district, community members, parents, and students. The group made recommendations to the district for allocating stimulus funds under four categories, each representing one of the ARRA “assurances.”
The primary purpose for using ARRA State Fiscal Stabilization Funds (SFSFs) in the district is to retain employees for whom no other revenue source is available. The ARRA money will be used to create new instructional and support positions throughout the district, but these funds will also prevent the district from having to lay off significant numbers of staff—a severe reality had the federal stimulus legislation not been enacted. Over all, the district will be creating or retaining approximately 1,500 jobs due to ARRA.
The district has a number of goals for use of the Title I funds, including supporting salary differential and performance pay programs to attract and retain highly qualified early childhood and K-12 teachers at the district’s highest poverty schools. ARRA will enhance current incentive programs by providing teacher salary performance incentives in these high-need Title I schools and by providing salary differential incentives to media specialists and school-based administrators when student performance goals are met. Stipends will also be provided to other certified personnel for attending training sessions necessary to achieve or maintain highly qualified status.
These struggling schools will also receive funds to implement school reform and improvement strategies that will align all instructional lessons with newly released state standards. Principals and staff will implement an intensive “Unpacking the Standards” project that will allow schools to align instruction with assessments and interventions.
ARRA funding will also help the district carry out comprehensive reform strategies at selected schools that are having difficulty making significant academic gains. Additional social work services will be made available with ARRA funding at schools involved with school improvement and academic reform initiatives. In addition, the district will fund 22 supplemental guidance counselor positions with stimulus money, allowing the school system to maintain full-time guidance units at Title I elementary schools.
Stimulus Title I funding will also be used to pay for supplemental instructional support, including retaining 30 reading coaches at high-need Title I schools—positions that had no remaining funding source as a result of the elimination of Reading First. The district will also use ARRA funding to provide 10 math and 10 science middle school teachers, 10 language arts elementary school teachers, 20 elementary and middle school Title I teachers, and 50 highly qualified paraprofessionals to provide tutoring in Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) programs for students who are taking advanced classes in all district middle and senior high schools.
The district also plans to use Title I funding to support teacher training and professional development. ARRA dollars will be used to pay salaries for teachers and stipends for other certified staff members who attend training sessions necessary to achieve or maintain highly qualified teacher status; contracted services to provide content and pedagogical training for teachers at Title I schools; and consultants to provide teacher training on instructional strategies and curriculum standards.
Hillsborough County Public Schools will also create a leadership development program that will identify key future leaders in the district and provide training to prepare them for leadership opportunities at high-needs schools. Specifically, ARRA funding will be used to provide technical assistance for school-based leaders at Title I schools; leadership support, travel, and registration to attend state and local leadership conferences, meetings, and training sessions; and stipends for professional development for school-based administrators.
The district’s plan for ARRA funds includes improving access to user-friendly formative assessment systems. It will use Title I stimulus funding to hire consultants to provide teachers with technical assistance on formative assessment implementation and train them on this implementation. Additional costs for this project funded by ARRA will include online software subscriptions, as well as other fees associated with student and teacher access to formative assessments.
The district will also use Title I ARRA dollars to support college and career preparation programs and help the school system develop more user-friendly parent and student communication materials that highlight the district’s technical and career placement opportunities. ARRA will help pay for contracted services with local vendors to provide college and career experiences and for buses to take students to places of business or to college campuses.
The district runs a successful extended-time program that gives students the opportunity to remain in a safe and educationally enriched environment after the traditional school day ends. ARRA funding will enable the school system to create 140 new positions for temporary teachers who will provide additional tutorial services to students at Title I elementary and middle schools with extended-time programs, as well as provide necessary classroom supplies for the new opportunities.
The district will also use ARRA funding to strengthen the school system’s parent engagement efforts, and will provide 15 new instructional-focused parent involvement liaisons and five new non-instructional parent involvement liaisons. Consultants will be hired to assist Title I schools with the implementation of reform strategies by holding parent meetings and maintaining ongoing communication to parents and the community. Consultants will also be hired to provide technical assistance for parents on the technology implementations occurring in the district.
ARRA’s Title I funds will also be spent to supplement a district wide technology and instructional materials upgrade, in coordination with IDEA Maintenance of Effort funds, IDEA, and Title II-D. The new funds will be used to purchase computers and software for classrooms and labs at Title I schools and supplemental instructional materials for teachers and students that align with current standards. These funds will also be used to support research-based instructional strategies and supplemental textbooks to ensure that all students at Title I schools have wide access to a variety of instructional materials.
Additionally, ARRA funds will be used to purchase classroom equipment that supports best instructional practices and provides additional educational opportunities for students in Title I schools (such as calculators for math classes and LCD projectors for student projects). The district will also use the ARRA opportunity to enhance the capabilities of the district’s current data systems so that all pertinent information can be retrieved in a user-friendly manner. The district will also enhance its early childhood programs through the purchase of computer programs and software licenses, classroom equipment to support instructional practices and educational opportunities, and supplemental instructional materials that align with current standards and research-based instructional strategies.
Hillsborough County Public Schools will receive significant funding under ARRA that reflects the purposes of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The IDEA ARRA dollars will support a number of services for students with disabilities, including the extension of the school year and the purchase of curricula and adaptive assistive technology that will be used in low-prevalence classrooms. ARRA funds will be used to reimburse exceptional student education teachers who are required by the State of Florida to take additional coursework in order to be highly qualified. The district will also use IDEA ARRA dollars to hire eight new Response to Intervention coaches and four new pre-K assessment specialists to assist with screenings and evaluations resulting ultimately in services for pre-K students.
In addition, the district will utilize the provision of IDEA that allows the school system—as a result of the increased funding under ARRA—to create additional flexibility by reducing the school district’s IDEA Maintenance of Effort in FY 2009. The IDEA Maintenance of Effort dollars will be used for professional development focused on state and district initiatives for all staff members. A portion of these dollars will also assist in professional development for both instructional and support personnel (e.g., teachers, bus drivers, bus attendants, lunchroom workers) in the areas of curriculum, differentiated instruction, the effective use of purchased materials, and positive behavior strategies for students with severe cognitive disabilities.
Finally, Hillsborough County Public Schools will allocate the appropriate share of funding under ARRA to all required set-asides. Title I funds have been earmarked to ensure that the district will meet the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act for public school choice and supplemental services, as well as for private school services. The district will use a third-party contract to enhance instructional services at non-public sites.
Miami-Dade County Public Schools has used ARRA funding to provide much-needed financial relief for schools in Miami and will use this funding to support and expand district programs. Specifically, the Title I ARRA funding was included as part of the district’s budget for the final months of the 2008-09 school year, and will also be utilized in school years 2009-10 and 2010-11 and in the summer of 2011.
With its ARRA dollars, the district plans to increase the number of schools receiving Title I funding from 255 schools to 359. Part of this effort includes expanding the number of Title I schools providing enrichment services to voluntary prekindergarten students. Title I ARRA funding will also be used to assist high schools through the district’s secondary school reform effort, providing those schools that are identified under the State’s differential accountability plan with Title I teachers.
Pending the availability of waivers, the district has also planned to use ARRA Title I funds to implement federally required set-asides for No Child Left Behind choice and supplemental educational services. The district will use Title I funds to pay the salaries of community liaison specialists as part of its parental involvement activities. The district also will use ARRA funding to provide professional development geared especially at curriculum support specialists, instructional coaches, teachers, and academic deans who work in schools identified under the State’s differentiated accountability model.
Title I’s highly qualified teacher set-asides will be met, in part, through contracts with Teach for America and the University of Florida, as well as through stipends for teachers to participate in valuable professional development activities. The district will also use Title I funding to continue summer services, and, because of ARRA, will be able to pay for hourly teachers, supplemental and consumable workbooks, and transportation services.
The district will also use ARRA funds to expand supplemental services to particularly vulnerable students: those in the homeless, neglected, and delinquent populations, and in migrant populations. Thus, these funds will be used to provide hourly staff for students living in homeless shelters and remedial tutorial services for students living in both residential and non-residential neglected and delinquent centers and migrant housing centers.
The school board in Miami also passed a resolution amending existing district leasing schedules for capital projects. The district will be able to take advantage of the interest-free Qualified School Construction Bonding authority available under ARRA for projects that had been approved, but not yet awarded, under previous Certificates of Participation. The availability of the ARRA bonds will provide significant savings to Miami over the life of the bond.
Orange County (Orlando)
Orange County Public Schools will use State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (SFSF) dollars to save and create jobs in the district. The grant will enable the school system to preserve the jobs of 26 social workers, 275 guidance counselors, 196 resource teachers (six guidance, 184 instruction/curriculum, and six reading), 143 media specialists, 110 staffing specialists, 155 technology support representatives, and seven district-based, and 19 school-based instructional/curriculum support teachers to continue their employment with the district—a total of 931 jobs that would otherwise have been in jeopardy due to state and local budget shortfalls. Orange County Public Schools will also use SFSF dollars to purchase new software that will provide a student information system, Web portal application, integration with third-party software, and specialized query and report applications, as well as hardware to support the new student management system and associated applications.
Title I ARRA funds will be used to support reading coaches at all 70 Title I schools. With these funds, also, 50 math and science coaches will be retained, as well as 19 social workers serving 38 schools. The district’s Student Assistance and Family Empowerment (SAFE) program provides a comprehensive range of prevention and intervention services for students and their families at the elementary and secondary schools in the district, focusing on student needs in the areas of alcohol, tobacco, drugs, and violence prevention. ARRA funding will support 11 SAFE coordinators who work at the middle school level, as well as a guidance counselor who will provide services for children at the Juvenile Assessment Center.
The district plans to also use ARRA grants from IDEA to save and create jobs, but it also will allocate these funds to buy essential classroom materials for students with disabilities. ARRA funding has enabled the district to retain 459 educational paraprofessionals who provide assistance to certified teachers, guidance counselors, crisis teachers, and other certified specialists in the education, care, and development of severely mentally, physically, and emotionally disturbed students. This funding will also make it possible for the district to continue to employ 34 job coaches who assist in developing vocational training opportunities for students with disabilities and provide supervision for students with disabilities who are participating in vocation training and job placement activities.
The federal stimulus dollars will also enable the district to continue to employ eight occupational therapists, eight physical therapists, 30 substitute teachers for special education, 30 substitutes for paraprofessionals, 17 registered nurses, and nine licensed practical nurses, 20 school psychologists, six behavior specialists, a high school math coach, and 1.5 (FTE) high school reading coaches. In addition, ARRA will enable the district to create positions for five mental health counselors, two resource teachers for training and development, 21 inclusion specialists to provide teacher support in inclusionary practices, and two staffing specialists to monitor and provide support to schools in order to ensure compliance. A total of 60.5 new jobs will be created and approximately 593 jobs will be saved in special education because of ARRA funding for IDEA.
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