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Brewer announces release of more stimulus funds

Federal officials approved the release of the final portion of Arizona’s stimulus funds for education, which Gov. Jan Brewer said will give the state more flexibility as it tries to tackle its 2010 budget deficit.

Brewer on July 22 announced the release of about $61 million, which was approved by the U.S. Department of Education. The funds are a portion of the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund, which is stimulus money that is earmarked for education. The newly released money is part of the stabilization fund’s $185 million government services fund, which is set aside for general government services and can be used for a variety of things.

Brewer said the money was originally scheduled to be released in the fall, but federal officials approved its early release to help states manage their more immediate budget crises. The money will help Arizona avoid budget cuts in education and other essential public services, she said.

“In coming weeks I will utilize these funds for my key priorities of education reform, health care for our most vulnerable, public safety and innovation, technology and economic development,” Brewer stated in a press release.

The stabilization fund includes about $832 million for K-12 and higher education in Arizona. Brewer has said in the past that much of the $185 government services fund may be used for education as well.

The announcement comes as Brewer and legislators continue to work toward a budget deal for the 2010 fiscal year. Lawmakers approved a budget on July 1, but Brewer vetoed large portions of it, leaving the budget incomplete and the state facing a $2 billion deficit.

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