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Morning Cup: To Lay Off or Not to Lay Off?

benderbending/Flickr; Krista Kjellman/ProPublicaThis is the latest roundup from our stimulus blog.

The stimulus is throwing gas on the fire over layoffs in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Facing a $600 million deficit, the district voted to lay off 5,000 teachers and support staff, but the stimulus saved the jobs of 2,000 elementary school teachers. The Los Angeles Times reports: "Much of the contention centers on how much money will be available from the federal stimulus package and how that money could and should be used."

On the education front, the New York Times revisits the language in the stimulus act for clues to Obama's policy toward No Child Left Behind. Meanwhile, the University of Virginia says the stimulus helped it avoid drastic tuition increases.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood made the rounds on Fox News and yesterday to talk about the milestone of funding the 2000th stimulus highway project. He said the new construction jobs will be sustained after the money runs out but dodged a question about if it is appropriate for Ohio to spend $57 million on transportation planning.

Eight Midwestern governors have sent a letter to LaHood asking for stimulus money for a high-speed rail corridor, including service between St. Louis and Chicago. Tomorrow, President Barack Obama is expected to announce his plans for high-speed rail. Also tomorrow, Vice President Joe Biden will visit the ABB Transformer Factory in Jefferson City, Mo., to promote how the stimulus is "transforming" the economy with wind energy projects.

Project of the day: In honor of today's tax filing deadline, here's a quick reminder of the tax breaks in the stimulus package. As of April 1, workers should see more in their paychecks as part of the $400-per-person middle-class tax break. New home buyers get an $8,000 tax credit while new car buyers can write off the sales tax on next year's returns. If you've hit any snags with these provisions, e-mail us and tell us your story.

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