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AUSTIN -- The U.S. Education Department has rejected Texas' application for $830 million in federal aid, which many school districts were counting on to salvage jobs and avoid potential layoffs.
Gov. Rick Perry called on the federal agency to "find legally appropriate ways" to deliver the money to Texas school districts this year or to set aside the funds so Texas can apply again next year, after lawmakers write the next biennial budget.
The federal aid is part of a $10 billion jobs package approved by Congress in August. Under a Texas-only provision by Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, the governor must commit to keep education funding at the same proportionate level for three years to receive the aid.
Federal officials say the aid package could help fund an estimated 14,500 jobs in Texas as school districts consider staff reductions amid shrinking budgets.
Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott and an emissary for Perry met with federal officials late last month in an attempt to bypass the conditions and get the money. But the Education Department notified Scott in a letter released Thursday that granting the aid "would not be consistent with the statutory requirements."