As recently reported, North Carolina won a $300 million federal ‘Race to the Top’ grant to employ education workers across the state, in yet another avatar of federal stimulus spending. This money was recently delivered to local education authorities who are able to spend it until September 30th, 2012, however, are encouraged to spend it immediately.
While this funding is desperately needed in the context of a multi-billion dollar budget shortfall looming ominously on the horizon, that didn’t stop the state government from siphoning off $1.5 million to “administer” the grant.
Representative Paul Stam (R – Wake) grilled Phil Price of the Department of Public Instruction Wednesday morning at a Government Ops meeting, inquiring why such a large sum of money was being used to fund state bureaucracy and claiming that his law firm would be able to administer such a grant for $50 – $60,000. He went on to ask if there was a justification for this administration price tag, “or is it just because we can.” Price responded by stating that the federal grant stipulations provided for larger amounts to be spent on administration and that this was the figure the Governor’s office decided on.
$1.5 million translates to approximately 34 teaching jobs in North Carolina.
Despite the hefty administration “tax” on this grant, the state plans to hire only two positions to assist in monitoring the dispersal of this funding.
It was also noted that many local education authorities plan to sit on this cash until July 1st, 2011, the beginning of the next fiscal year.