We Still Have a Higher Education System

Thank the stimulus, says the GAO.

Education has awarded Colorado $509 million, or about 67 percent of the state’s total State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (SFSF) allocation of $760 million. Colorado had obligated a total of almost $176 million of the funds as of June 30, 2009. Colorado is using these funds primarily to support its higher education system; without the funds, according to state officials, budget cuts could have resulted in the closure of some institutions and increased tuition at others. Local education officials we spoke with stated that their districts do not yet have specific plans for the funds, but anticipate using them to retain teachers and reduce the potential for layoffs.

According to the GAO, Colorado schools have been provided about $80 million in Individuals with Disabilities Education Act funding, about half of the eventual total. 29 of the planned 92 road projects have been awarded for a total of $244 million so far. 82 percent of the slated $241 million in Medicaid funds has already been spent to prop up the state budget, preventing cuts in Medicaid services when they are needed the most…but the fact that only 18% of the funds remains is very concerning.

Needless to say, state lawmakers have to be looking at that burn rate with no small amount of horror as they meet this week to consider their limited options.

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