The U.S. Department of Education supplies about a tenth of the funding for Georgia public schools, and it’s unclear what will happen to them if the federal government shutdown continues into next week.
The money is funneled through the Georgia Department of Education, which draws down the federal funds on a weekly basis through a semi-automated system. During the last shutdown, the federal education agency maintained a skeletal staff for the system, which continued to send money to Georgia.
“We have not heard whether they will take the same approach should this shutdown continue,” a spokeswoman for the state education department said Monday. The state agency has already drawn down funds for this week’s payouts to school districts, scheduled for Thursday. “So if the shutdown ends quickly, there will be no impact.”
If it doesn’t, then it will be up to the U.S. education department to decide whether to keep the money flowing.
A call to the federal agency’s press office Monday was greeted by a voicemail: “We will return to normal operations as soon as possible after the temporary shutdown ends.” The last communique from that office came Friday evening, four hours before the shutdown took effect at midnight. That’s when the agency said Education Secretary Betsy DeVos had approved Georgia’s plan to comply with the new Every Student Succeeds Act, despite previous misgivings.
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