$204 million in help for schools; Gov. releases recovery money.

Byline: John J. Monahan

BOSTON - Gov. Deval L. Patrick is releasing $204 million in federal economic recovery funds to local school districts, which will boost Worcester's public school budget with an additional $1.9 million to pay teachers.

The funds come as part of a $650 million state share of an extension of federal recovery funds that cleared Congress earlier this month, after Senate Democrats overcame opposition from Republicans, who tried to reduce and block the allocation over deficit worries.

Most of those funds for Medicaid and other programs must be appropriated by the Legislature, but Mr. Patrick has said the education funding included in the appropriation can be distributed without legislative approval. Local communities should begin receiving their allocations in two weeks.

The administration had counted on the funding when it prepared its budget earlier this year. But the money was delayed by the approval process in Washington, so the state had to roll back Chapter 70 funding to cities and towns, with cuts of up to 4 percent in aid to public schools.

The federal funds distributed are directed specifically at maintaining teacher jobs and rehiring laid-off teachers. It will be distributed to cities and towns, according to the state's

Chapter 70 distribution formula.

About $60 million of the $204 million figure has not yet been allocated to individual districts, according to Jonathan Palumbo, spokesman for the state Executive Office of Education.

Lt. Gov...

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