Education Dept. Urged to Reject Stimulus Waiver for La.

January 13, 2010

The U.S. Education Department should reject Louisiana's request to be exempted from a provision in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that requires states to maintain their spending on education to receive federal stimulus funds, the head of the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education said in a letter to Education Secretary Arne Duncan. The letter from Lezli Baskerville, who heads the association of black colleges, argues that Louisiana's planned cuts to colleges and schools this year, on top of previous cuts, would be unwarranted at a time when the state has a rainy day fund and is reviewing the structure of its higher education system that could save $150 million. Granting a waiver to the recovery act's "maintenance of effort" provision, Baskerville wrote, "would establish bad precedent and open the floodgates for numerous other states with stockpiled funds to seek a waiver." Baskerville said the was worried that the cuts would devastate the state's historically black colleges, Grambling State and Southern Universities.

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