Evidence of the recession affecting the U.S. was clear even in late 2008 and President Barack Obama’s actions signing into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) last February was obvious indication that something had to be done. The act, in which Congress allocated $787 billion in new spending to help spur the economy on the road of recovery, left many business owners and security professionals, among others, hopeful that positive developments would occur.
Earlier in 2009, the Electronic Security Association, (ESA) reported that industry-specific language was included in the education portion of the law that provided for the funding of professionally installed life safety/security equipment. The final version, however, removed that language and instead, appropriated a lump sum of $53.6 billion to the U.S. Department of Education for distribution to the states.
While the measure contains no specific line-item funding for the life safety and security industry, the law did specify a few uses for which school districts and colleges would be able to use the money, mainly the modernization, renovation and repair of public school buildings or for college facilities used primarily for instruction, research or student housing.
Addressing the State of the Union
In president Obama’s State of the Union address last month, among many of the issues addressed, he pledged his commitment to improving schools and the “education of our people.”
“Now, this year, we’ve broken through the stalemate between left and right by launching a national competition to improve our schools. And the idea here is simple: instead of rewarding failure, we only reward success. Instead of funding the status quo, we only invest in reform—reform that raises student achievement; inspires students to excel in math and science; and turns around failing schools that steal the future of too many young Americans, from rural communities to the inner city. In the 21st century, the best anti-poverty program around is a world-class education. And in this country, the success of our children cannot depend more on where they live than on their potential.”
The American Association of School Administrators, Arlington, Va., the professional organization for school superintendents and other school system leaders, issued the following statement on President Obama’s State of the Union address:
“As school districts nationwide face steep funding shortfalls, in spite of the federal stimulus spending, it is critical that Congress and the administration ensure schools have the resources they need to fuel economic recovery and growth. Districts are making tough decisions about programs and personnel that can be cut with the least impact student achievement, while also facing a looming ‘funding cliff’ at the end of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds. Now more than ever, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (the law currently known as No Child Left Behind) must be rewritten to reflect its original purpose: success for all children, especially disadvantaged children. ESEA’s formulas must be focused on those with the greatest need: low-income students in rural, urban and suburban settings. In addition, as funding shortfalls continue to divert resources from critical education programs, it is essential that Congress fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to ensure children with disabilities receive the best possible education and services.
We applaud the president’s emphasis on education. However, the devil is in the details. We look forward to seeing the details in the FY2011 budget request the president sends to Congress.”
Generating new revenue
The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) reported that only $140 billion of stimulus funds will be for construction spending in significant infrastructure investment. While some projects will be directly funded by federal agencies, much of the money will be distributed to state governments to be spent.