Ariz. could get leeway on when to restore funding

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UPDATE -- APRIL 1:

PHOENIX -- As expected, new federal guidelines apparently would require Arizona to use some of its anticipated stimulus program money for education to backfill $160 million in recent budget cuts to universities and community colleges. But the guidelines also give the governor discretion on when to hand over the money.

The U.S. Department of Education released guidelines for education funding provided by the stimulus program, which is intended to spur the economy but also contains numerous policy initiatives.

Arizona stands to gain approximately $1 billion in education funding.

Guidelines released Wednesday in Washington would give governors "some flexibility in the timing of release of the funds," only requiring that the money to restore prior funding be allocated by Sept, 30, 2010.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

ORIGINAL REPORT:

PHOENIX -- A legislative leader says the state may have to undo $160 million in budget cuts to the state university system to qualify for some $800 million of federal stimulus money for education.

House Majority Leader John McComish says expected federal guidelines for the stimulus money apparently will be tighter than previously thought. The Phoenix Republican says the requirements force the state to provide a minimum amount of its own money, and that could be more than previous thought.

McComish says it's not clear how the issue will be resolved or if the $160 million in university cuts would need to be restored.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)