Saturday, May 16, 2009

U.S. Rep. Kendrick B. Meek Reacts to the U.S. Department of Education Granting Florida an Education Stimulus Waiver

U.S. Rep. Kendrick B. Meek (D-FL) released the following statement after the U.S. Department of Education granted Florida an education stimulus waiver providing the state with nearly $2 billion in federal stimulus dollars.

On April 21, Congressman Meek convened a meeting with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on this subject and learned that Florida had delayed submitting the necessary paperwork to receive this waiver. Meek then wrote Governor Charlie Crist, noting: “In order to ensure that Florida receives the full benefit of education funds in the stimulus package, I strongly urge you to direct the Florida Department of Education to immediately begin preparation of Florida's Application for Initial Funding under the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund Program. I would also strongly advise that the State accept the Secretary's offer of counsel throughout the application process.”

Congressman Meek’s statement follows:

“With a fiscal crisis hitting the state, Florida was in no position to delay submitting this application, but that’s exactly what occurred. To gamble on the future of Florida’s schools was an ill advised strategy that could have jeopardized our students and teachers. Secretary Duncan and the Department of Education wanted nothing more than to grant Florida these critical stimulus dollars, but could not help Florida until the state chose to act and help itself. Only when pressure was put to bear by fellow Democratic lawmakers in Washington, DC and Tallahassee was action taken. This is a good day for Florida, but it’s a day that needlessly took too long to arrive. I commend Secretary Duncan for his actions and am proud to say that I voted for this recovery package which has helped Florida during this economic recession. Throughout my entire life in public service, I have dedicated myself to helping Florida’s students and teachers, and they will be better off because of this recovery package.”

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