Friday, February 13, 2009

Some of What Local Communities are Looking to the Stimulus to Fund

On the North Carolina side of the Smokies:
Macon County Manager Jack Horton reported to the commissioners on Monday that county department heads have successfully cut their budgets to cover an almost $1.4 million shortfall.

The county was facing such a large shortfall because of a decrease in revenue due to the economic downturn. Individual department heads found specific areas in their budgets to cut without reducing the quality of services to the public, Horton said.

Also due to the economic downturn the county commissioners last month put on hold the construction of a new K-4 school in Iotla.

But commissioners are hopeful the federal stimulus package will provide money to pay for that school. In case that money becomes available, commissioners and the school board want to be ready to go forward with the project. Therefore, the commissioners on Monday voted to spend up to $15,000 on a soil study for a water and sewer system at the site.

In Aurora, Colorado:
The estimated $76 billion earmarked for public education would specifically go to fund Title 1 programs, which are mainly in schools that have a high number of students on free or reduced lunches, and to fund special education programs. Previous iterations of the bill included billions for school construction that ultimately were axed from the bill during negotiations in the U.S. Senate late last week.

Aurora Public Schools Superintendent John Barry said the district can’t comment on current versions of the bill, but said that the district would be looking at the version passed in the house that included $140 billion for schools, including the $79 billion set aside for Title 1 programs and special education funding, as well as funds included for school construction. Barry said the money would be helpful, but would not be used for long-term plans.

Finally, Centerville, Louisiana:
The St. Mary Parish School Board heard a report from Superintendent Donald Aguillard pertaining to the opportunity for the school district to benefit from the more than $50 billion that has been allocated for education in the federal stimulus bill.

Aguillard said Thursday night he had received information about the bill and several ways it could benefit St. Mary schools, including money allocated to prevent teacher layoffs and cutbacks.

We will probably see the number of these kinds of stories explode in the coming weeks.

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