Tracking the Stimulus: Two Years Later

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2010 sent millions of dollars to Centre County schools. Lawmakers had two main goals: save jobs and improve education.

On the first and second anniversaries of the stimulus becoming law, these articles examined the impact.

The 2011 series was reported by Ed Mahon, as part of a collaboration with The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit news outlet, the Education Writers Association and reporters from 36 new outlets. It focused entirely on schools.

The 2010 series was reported by four Centre Daily Times writers: Business reporter Nick Malawskey; Penn State and county government reporter Anne Danahy; transportation reporter Mike Joseph; and schools reporter Ed Mahon. These articles won first place in the investigative reporting category in the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association 2011 Keystone Press Awards.

Caption: Instructional Coach for the Bellefonte Area School District Patty Eckenroth, left, observes first grade Paraprofessional Susan Benson as she works on addition with students at Bellefonte Elementary school February 10, 2011. Eckenroth’s position in the district is funded by stimulus money. CDT/Nabil K. Mark

———————————————————————————————————————————————-
2011
 
Part Four: Districts see results with “i3” innovation grants

PUBLISHED IN THE CENTRE DAILY TIMES

FEB. 16, 2011

BY ED MAHON

When Chris Marsh’s fourth-grade students finish a series of lesson on electrical circuits, they can build flashlights and run wiring in a model home.

For the past two years, Marsh’s students at West Branch Area Elementary School have studied “Science: It’s Elementary” lessons, which were created by the Pittsburgh-based nonprofit ASSET.

“It’s revolutionized our instruction,” said Marsh, whose school is located in Clearfield County, about five miles north of Philipsburg.

Read more: Districts see results with “i3” innovation grants.

Read the national Heichinger/EWA  story that accompanied this Centre Daily Times article: Grants spark school innovation.

——————————————————————————————————————

Part Three: Local impact of reading support will remain after stimulus ends

PUBLISHED IN THE CENTRE DAILY TIMES

TUESDAY, FEB. 15, 2011

BY ED MAHON

WINGATE — If Erica Milliron’s students have trouble comprehending what they’re reading, she can use a computer program to pinpoint the problem. The students could be struggling to summarize information; recognize the order of events; draw inferences; read for detail; or a combination.

“It gives you that information immediately,” said Milliron, a learning support teacher at Bald Eagle Area High School. “You can pull those students out and intensify instruction.”

For the past two years, Milliron and more than a dozen other teachers from across Centre County have implemented the Read 180 intervention program for at-risk students. Districts own the licenses to the program forever, so the program will continue to have an impact once federal stimulus dollars that paid for it dry up in June.

Read more: Local impact of reading support will remain after stimulus ends.

Sidebar: Funds spent on Read 180.

Read national Heichinger/EWA story that accompanied this Centre Daily Times article: Consultants in demand after flood of stimulus funding.

————————————————————————————————————————–

Part Two: Looking ahead, local schools cut back

PUBLISHED IN THE CENTRE DAILY TIMES

MONDAY FEB. 14, 2011

BY ED MAHON

During a budget discussion in January, a State College Area school board member did some quick math.

“I really think we need to start to … talk about the elephant in the room,” Jim Pawelczyk said to business administrator Jeff Ammerman. “$2.1 million probably translates into programmatic changes in the district: 15 positions or more.”

Those exact figures — a $2.1 million budget shortfall and 15 jobs lost — will likely change between now and June when districts have to approve their final budgets.

But what school board members and administrators from across the county say is clear is that education jobs are more at risk this year than they were last year.

Read more: Looking ahead, local schools cut back.

Read national Heichinger/EWA story that accompanied this Centre Daily Times article: Schools brace for halt in funds.

—————————————————————————————————————————————————–

Part One: Districts struggling to make up revenue loss when stimulus ends

Caption: Instructional Coach for the Bellefonte Area School District Brenda Rogers talks with Kindergartener Hannah Deitrich, 5, at Bellefonte Elementary school February 10, 2011. Rogers position in the district is funded by stimulus money. CDT/Nabil K. Mark

PUBLISHED IN THE CENTRE DAILY TIMES

SUNDAY, FEB. 13, 2011

BY ED MAHON

More than $12.67 million in federal stimulus dollars has poured into Centre County classrooms during the past two years.

It has paid for interactive whiteboard technology in Philipsburg-Osceola elementary schools, teacher training in Bellefonte, a new reading program for at-risk students in Bald Eagle, teacher salaries in State College and an expanded summer school program in Penns Valley. But it’s about to run out.

“I think it was a benefit to … the students. But it’s also very dangerous,” Penns Valley Superintendent Brian Griffith said with a laugh. “Dangerous, meaning that there’s a cliff.”

Read more: Districts struggling to make up revenue loss when stimulus ends.

Read national Heichinger/EWA story that accompanied this Centre Daily Times article: States failing to meet federal caveats for stimulus funding.

Advertisements
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: