Monday, October 6, 2008

Silver Lining to a Very Grey Cloud

Could there be a silver lining to the bailout plan?

Hard to imagine when, just last week, Edward R. Kealy, executive director of the Committee for Education Funding, soberly told Education Week, "This bailout is basically going to suck the air out of education funding for years to come" (unless, that is, the next president is committed to boosting education spending).

But for some schools in Washington state, the plan brought good news: The revised bailout bill, which was approved by Congress on Friday, included a timber provision, extending the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act for four years and $3.3 billion. The money will go to 700 counties in 39 states—states that once depended on federal timber sales to pay for schools, libraries and other services.

The federal program, which legislators had been trying to renew for years, had been set to expire last week with the end of the fiscal year. As it turns out, Wall Street wasn't the only place to experience a wave of relief last Friday.

With the program back in place, Washington state will receive $43 million.

Now, what to do about having the air sucked out of education for years to come...

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