Using Federal Stimulus Dollars to Reduce Suspension Rates

Back • Publication Date: May 28th, 2009

Authors: Taby Ali and Cyd Oppenheimer, J.D.

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In 2007, the Connecticut General Assembly passed a law which, as of July 1, 2009, would raise the threshold on the types of behaviors that could result in an out-of-school suspension in Connecticut schools. In 2009, the federal government passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA, also known as the “federal stimulus”), which, among other things, provides funds to local school districts for short-term investments designed to improve academic achievement and school system capacity. School districts have significant discretion over how these funds should be spent. Connecticut school districts should take advantage of these funds to support their implementation of the 2007 suspension law by investing these dollars in proven strategies that improve school climate and student behavior. Spending funds in this way has the mutual benefit of meeting the goals of the ARRA and helping Connecticut schools promote school discipline and improve academic performance by keeping children in school.