FRANKFORT -- A recent federal funding announcement has given the Kentucky Department of Education a lifeline for teacher jobs, officials said Monday.

On Friday, U.S. Secretary of Education officials announced $175.8 million is now available for Kentucky education, under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

"With this application, Kentucky provided us with basic information on what is working in their classrooms," said Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education. "This data is a critical tool in helping us work together with students, parents, teachers, administrators, community leaders and elected officials at every level, to improve education for Kentucky's students."

To date, Kentucky has received more than $1.1 billion in funding through ARRA, Duncan said.

More than 7,300 education jobs in Kentucky have been funded through ARRA funding, he said.

"It would be a blessing if we did get some extra money coming in," said Lewis County Schools Superintendent Maurice Reeder. "With the loss of some SEEK funds last year it was a worry for us."

Funding woes could have forced the district to look into laying off some staff members, Reeder said.

"Let's hope we get the funds and don't have to lay anyone off," he said.

Historically similar funding has meant stabilization of teacher employment, not increases in staff sizes, officials said.

"I don't know how they are going to divvy it up. Without a state budget, it is hard to say." said Deming School Superintendent Chuck Brown. "In the past they have replaced SEEK funding with it to keep the budgets the same. This year I am not sure what will happen."

Fleming officials are also waiting to see what the state budget brings.

"Last year they supplemented the SEEK money with the stimulus money. We won't know until the state budget is decided," Fleming Schools Superintendent Tony Roth said.

Keeping the status quo is what Bracken officials are hoping for.

"We are trying our best to hold our own. Allocations are not due until May 1. We have been fortunate and are trying hard not to have any lay-offs," said Bracken County Superintendent Tony Johnson.

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Mason County Superintendent Tim Moore reserved his comments until he could review the information, a Mason County Schools spokesperson said.

Augusta Independent School representatives had not replied to The Ledger Independent's request for comments by press time.

As part of the application process Kentucky was required to provide data of it's plan for reform including, methods of teacher and principal evaluations and how the information is used to support, retain, promote or remove staff. It also required KDE to show Kentucky has a Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems that includes all the necessary America COMPETES Act requirements and how it will implement a comprehensive system by 2011.

It also required student growth data on current students and students taught in the previous year, information on education methods of teachers of reading/language arts and mathematics in grades in which the state administers assessments in those subjects in a manner that is timely and informs instructional programs and the number and identity of the schools that are Title I schools in improvement, corrective action or restructuring that are identified as persistently lowest-achieving schools, officials said.

The application, requirements and summary of the requirements can all be found at: http://www.ed.gov/programs/statestabilization/applicant.html.

Contact Wendy Mitchell at wendy.mitchell@lee.net or call 606-564-9091, ext. 276.

For more area news, visit www.maysville-online.com.

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