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State education department tracks stimulus funds

State education department tracks stimulus funds The Arkansas Department of Education will use technology from IBM to track its spending of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding grants, also known as stimulus funds. The software is expected to provide transparency and accountability by monitoring and analyzing the effectiveness of the spending.

Over the next six months, the Arkansas Department of Education expects to receive as much as $569.9 million in stimulus funding for local school agencies. The money is targeted at improving students’ academic performance, providing services for low-income students and those with disabilities, creating facilities that promote student learning and expanding the use of technology.

The state of Arkansas has established a Web site to track stimulus spending and results. Plans are to incorporate the school information into a reporting system that is both accessible to Arkansas residents and easy to understand.

According to a press release from IBM, its Recovery Act Performance technology can help local governments and federal agencies disburse and track the billions of federal dollars that will be distributed throughout the United States. The Web-based technology dashboard combines business intelligence and performance management technologies, together with access to financial management experts with government experience, to help clients quickly monitor funding effectiveness, track jobs creation and analyze the overall success of the spending, according to IBM. For example, if an education project has reached 56 percent completion, but the managing agency has already spent 66 percent of the economic recovery funds, the system will alert program managers.

Gerry Mooney, IBM general manager, government, says, “The ability to quickly monitor, control and report on stimulus grants is critical to generating the most benefit to citizens, and ensuring transparency and accountability. Advances in financial management technology can play a crucial role in helping governmental organizations manage spending in real time and demonstrate that their programs are having a positive impact in their community.”

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