A few days after the federal government announced a $3 billion boost for public education, states and localities across the U.S. are scrambling to decide how to use the money.
States are scrambling, and they are making their own decisions.
Here’s what you need to know.
Read moreAt a press conference Tuesday, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos touted the new $3.8 billion for schools, which is about one-third of what the U to $9.5 billion funding had pledged in a deal struck last year.
But states and their communities need to get the full benefit of the money as well, she said, explaining that she would also increase the federal Pell Grant program.
She also said she is encouraging the states to increase their contribution to school funding.
States can choose to increase the amount of funding for their schools, or they can increase the percentage of students in their districts who qualify for Pell Grants.
States have until January 1 to make their own decision about the two options, but many are already preparing to do so.
A spokeswoman for the Education Department said it’s “up to each state to determine how they wish to spend their dollars.”
“The Department is committed to making sure every child has access to quality education in a way that is equitable and effective,” said Andrea Miller, in a statement to CNN.
She said the department would continue to work with state governments to determine the best way to spend the money in each state.
State officials are also looking at what the federal money could mean for states that have not yet decided whether to apply for funding.
“States are going to have to figure out how they’re going to spend this money.
That’s going to be a challenge,” said Amy Schulz, a senior adviser for public policy at the New York State Education Association.
Some states already have been applying for funds from the federal funding.
The New York state Department of Education, which oversees public schools, said it is looking at applications from schools in six different counties and expects to receive about $2.6 billion.
The federal government is not expected to pay a single cent for every school that receives Pell Grants, but it will provide a percentage of the funds that are spent on the federal grants to states.
States will receive more than $6 billion in federal money for schools over the next decade, and about $1.3 billion in the next two years, the Education department said.
It’s a major win for states like California, which received more than the $1 billion Pell Grant to help schools provide free tuition to low-income students.
Schulz said California is now considering applying for $1 for every $1 it receives in federal funds.
But it’s not the only state considering this option.
New York state, which has received $9 billion in Pell Grants and a $500 million loan from the U, has already started to look at applications for $5 for every 1 percent of the federal funds it receives.
California will be able to apply to get $5 per 1 percent federal funds for its state’s schools, Schulz said.
But, she added, “it’s important that we do not have to be stuck with these numbers.
We need to be smart and do this.”
The Education Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The $3-billion boost will go to states that received federal funds under the 2015-2020 School Reform and Accountability Act.
But some states may have received less than what the feds requested, which means they will need to apply separately.
States that have yet to make a decision about their applications for federal funds will have a choice of either getting the Pell Grants or applying for federal dollars.
States may also be required to apply as they receive funding, Schultz said.
The state of Colorado is expected to apply and receive $2,500 for every one percent of their funding that comes from the Pell Grant, the Denver Post reported.
Colorado’s application has been under review by the state’s state board of education.