Governor John P. de Jongh, Jr. heralded the announcement from Washington, DC on Tuesday that more than $13 million in federal stimulus funds were approved for the Virgin Islands. The monies were awarded as part of a federal $10 billion education package in support of education jobs for the 2010-2011 school year.
“These Title 1 monies will directly assist us as a government in supporting education jobs for the Territory’s teachers, administrators, and workers,” Governor de Jongh said, noting that the award of the monies today caps a lengthy process that has included face-to-face meetings with U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan.
“With these funds, we continue to bring unprecedented levels of educational reform to the Territory’s schools, as we improve teaching and learning programs, as well as increase services to children with disabilities. This funding will result in better programs and improved educational outcomes for Virgin Islands children, including enhancing qualifications and effectiveness of teachers in public elementary and secondary schools and improving academic standards overall.”
Title I monies are used for schools that have a high concentration of students from families who live in poverty. The monies are to be used specifically for the improvement of teaching and learning for students that are most at risk of failing to meet academic standards.
“There is a huge sense of urgency to get these funds out the door,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “These education dollars will help the Virgin Islands keep thousands of teachers in the classroom working with our students this school year.”
According to de Jongh, the funding comes at a time when the Territory continues to grapple with a budget revenue shortfall.
Earlier this year, the Government of the Virgin Islands was awarded more than $56.4 million in education stimulus funds, bringing the total grant monies allotted to the Territory for jobs and programs to $69.4 million to assist in maintaining education services, keeping teachers in the classroom, and preventing the cutting of valuable education programs.
Over the last two years, the U.S. Department of Education has been able to support 300,000 education jobs through stimulus funding provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).