Monday, August 16, 2010

Questions and Answers About the Ed Jobs Fund

Deputy Superintendent Beth Scioneaux has provided our website with a link to the US Department of Education site which describes the recently approved Education Jobs Fund Program. This is the 10 billion dollar supplement that is being distributed to all local school systems to help preserve teaching and education support jobs. In Louisiana, the extra funding will be allocated to local school systems using the Title I formula. The following is an excerpt from the initial guidance to the states on the proper use of the Ed Jobs Funds program.

D-1. For what purposes may an LEA use its Ed Jobs funds?

An LEA must use its funds only for compensation and benefits and other expenses, such as support services, necessary to retain existing employees, to recall or rehire former employees, and to hire new employees, in order to provide early childhood, elementary, or secondary educational and related services.

D-2. What categories of expenses may an LEA support with Ed Jobs funds?

For purposes of this program, the phrase “compensation and benefits and other expenses, such as support services” includes, among other things, salaries, performance bonuses, health insurance, retirement benefits, incentives for early retirement, pension fund contributions, tuition reimbursement, student loan repayment assistance, transportation subsidies, and reimbursement for childcare expenses.

D-3. Which employees may an LEA support with Ed Jobs funds?

An LEA may use the funds to pay the salaries of teachers and other employees who provide school-level educational and related services. In addition to teachers, employees supported with program funds may include, among others, principals, assistant principals, academic coaches, in-service teacher trainers, classroom aides, counselors, librarians, secretaries, social workers, psychologists, interpreters, physical therapists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, information technology personnel, nurses, athletic coaches, security officers, custodians, maintenance workers, bus drivers, and cafeteria workers.

D-4. What are the statutory prohibitions on an LEA’s use of Ed Jobs funds?

The statute prohibits LEAs from using Ed Jobs funds for general administrative expenses as that term is defined by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) in its Common Core of Data. These prohibited expenses are administrative expenditures related to the operation of the superintendent’s office or the LEA’s board of education, including the salaries and benefits of LEA-level administrative employees.

The statute also prohibits LEAs from using Ed Jobs funds for other LEA-level support services expenditures as that term is defined in the Common Core of Data. These prohibited activities include the payment of expenditures for fiscal services, LEA program planners and researchers, and human resource services.

D-5. May an LEA use Ed Jobs funds to pay the salaries and benefits of an LEA-level administrative official who also teaches or has other school-level responsibilities?

For an individual with both LEA-level and school-level responsibilities, an LEA may use Ed Jobs funds to pay only that portion of the employee’s salary and benefits associated with the time spent on allowable (i.e., school-level) activities. The LEA must maintain documentation substantiating that amount of time.

D-6. May an LEA use Ed Jobs funds to change previously established employee salary schedules or to reduce the number of furlough days?

Yes. An LEA may use Ed Jobs funds, for example, to restore reductions in salaries and benefits and to implement salary increases for the 2010-2011 school year. In addition, an LEA may use the funds for any additional salary and benefits costs associated with the elimination of furlough days that had been scheduled for the 2010-2011 school year.

An LEA may not use Ed Jobs funds to compensate employees for any period prior to
August 10, 2010, the date of enactment of the Act.

D-7. May an LEA use Ed Jobs funds to pay the compensation and benefits of individuals who provide school-level services but are not employees of an LEA?

No. An LEA may not use the funds to pay for contractual school-level services by individuals who are not employees of an LEA (e.g., janitors employed by an outside firm). However, an LEA that contracts with another LEA to provide educational and related services may use Ed Jobs funds to pay that portion of the contract associated with the salaries and benefits of the employees of the LEA providing the services.

D-8. May an LEA use Ed Jobs funds to meet previously unmet pension fund liabilities?

No. An LEA may not use Ed Jobs funds to meet pension obligations incurred in prior school years. However, an LEA may use its funds for pension obligations accruing on the basis of services that an employee performs during the 2010-2011 school year.

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