The New York Times reports that Education Secretary Arne Duncan sent a message to the nation’s school officials last week saying, in effect: Heads up! We’ll be sending you billions of dollars by month’s end. Spend the money quickly but wisely. And keep receipts; we’ll be asking. The message, which went out March 6 in documents eMailed to governors, state education commissioners, and thousands of school superintendents, provided the first broad guidelines for how the Education Department intends to channel $100 billion to the nation’s 14,000 school districts over the next few months. The expenditure is part of the Obama administration’s economic stimulus package. Some $44 billion will be made available to states before the end of this month, Duncan said, in the hope that layoffs can be averted. More school stimulus money will be distributed in the spring through the fall, after states apply for the financing and provide Congressionally mandated "assurances" that they are complying with federal education laws. "Spend funds quickly to save and create jobs," a five-page guidance document sent to the education officials said. It also urged educators to use the money in ways that "improve school achievement through school improvement and reform," and it warned them to keep records of expenditures…

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