Schools emerge as big loser in Senate stimulus bill

Details are slowly dribbling out on the key differences between the House and Senate versions of the proposed stimulus bill. But one thing remains true: One man’s pork-barrel funding is another man’s life-sustaining job.

Great Education Colorado laments the loss of $148.4 million in stimulus construction funds for Colorado’s K-12 schools. A Senate compromise over the weekend eventually eliminated that chamber’s entire $16 billion allocation to build and repair the nation’s crumbling school buildings. The House’s proposed $14 billion remains in its bill. Supporters are keeping their fingers crossed that funding can be restored in the regular fiscal year congressional appropriations process.

Eldorado Springs Democratic Sen. Mark Udall, a member of the bipartisan Gang of 20 negotiators, told the Rocky Mountain News that Senate Republicans stripped the funding from the bill because “school construction should be a state responsibility.” That’s a pretty shocking about-face considering how vigorously the GOP pushed No Child Left Behind just seven years ago.

The Senate will take up the stimulus vote again Tuesday. A conference committee of key leaders from each chamber is expected to hammer out a compromise bill Friday.

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Wendy Norris

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