Fresno Co. schools could share $28m in jobs bill

School districts in Fresno County could split an estimated $28 million if the federal jobs bill is adopted, a Fresno County education leader said Friday.

The money could only be used to keep current teachers, rehire former teachers or hire new teachers, said Don Holder, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction with the Fresno County Office of Education.

School Services of California, a Sacramento educational consulting firm, has said the money won't arrive in time for the start of this school year, Holder said. If the bill is passed, districts in Fresno County could receive their share of the money within about four months.

Some $10 billion in aid to school districts is set to flow after a 61-39 Senate vote Thursday -- to be followed quickly by a House vote next week -- in hopes that it will come in time for many school districts to reconsider teacher layoffs.

Thursday's vote was a hard-earned but partial victory for Democrats and President Barack Obama. Advocates said it could save the jobs of up to 300,000 teachers, police and other public workers.

The measure would provide an additional $16 billion to help states fund their Medicaid budgets -- and therefore free money for other budget priorities such as avoiding tax increases and preserving the jobs of state employees.

The vote caps months of effort by governors of both parties, public employee unions and others seeking to extend programs enacted in last year's economic stimulus law. That measure provided budget relief to states and local school districts hurt by slumping tax revenues.