President Obama signed legislation on Aug. 10 that would save an expected 160,000 jobs nationwide for public school teachers. The Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act passed the House of Representatives by a 247 to 161 vote, with only two Republicans voting with majority Democrats to support the bill.
Funds allocated through a federal $10 billion Education Jobs Fund will allow local educational agencies to support elementary and secondary schools. The bill specifies that allocated funds can only be used towards compensation and benefits, retain existing employees, rehire or recall employees, and to hire new employees. Funds cannot be used to replenish rainy day funds or to reduce or retire debt incurred by the State.
According to a study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a non-partisan and research policy institute, Maryland will receive a total of $452 million in relief funding. Across financially strapped jurisdictions like Prince George’s County and Baltimore City an estimated 2,500 teacher’s jobs are expected to be saved with $179 million in education jobs funding. The remaining $273 million will be used to fund Medicaid across the state.
“That money will go directly to the local jurisdictions,” said Shaun Adamec, a spokesperson from Gov. O’Malley’s office. “It’s really just a matter of weeks ,” he said “it’s not like the federal stimulus funds which took months and had a lot of strings attached to them.”