U.S. Education Secretary Rod Paige today took issue with Governor Tom Vilsack’s charge that the federal government has failed to send 300-million dollars the feds promised Iowa schools. Paige says the Governor “is completely incorrect.” Paige says Vilsack’s either misinformed about the “No Child Left Behind” law, or was intentionally trying to mislead the public. Paige suggested Vilsack, a democrat, was playing partisan politics and attacking the republican president’s administration. Paige says the federal government’s spending more on education than ever before. Paige says “never before in the history of our nation has any president put forth as much effort and resources” toward improving the nation’s schools. Paige shot back at Vilsack, suggesting the Governor and his staff had been asleep on the job and hadn’t applied for all the federal dollars Iowa is due. Paige says as of last week, there was 35-million dollars on the table that Iowa was due, but state officials hadn’t applied for. Paige got what he described as an “unkind letter” from Iowa’s education “chief” saying the state was “planning ” to spend that money. Paige says there’s another 338-thousand dollars the state could have spent, but didn’t, and that pot of cash has now gone back into the federal treasury to be spent on other states. Paige says that’s why it’s “unfortunate” that Vilsack would make an issue out of funding for the state when Paige says money’s been available on such “historical terms.” Paige visited a Des Moines elementary school this morning — the same school Vilsack visited yesterday to make his allegations.
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