Stimulus Package

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Congressman reports stimulus will add $3.4 million to schools

By Rupert Howell

South Panola School District Superintendent Dr. Keith Shaffer said Monday morning that he had yet to be informed of any concrete numbers concerning federal stimulus funds for the school district.

School districts in Panola County stand to receive approximately $3.35 million through the Conference Report Version of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, according to a press release from Rep. Travis Childers.

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South Panola District stands to receive $1,867,000 while North Panola District would realize $1,482,000 under the plan

Childers voted last week for the stimulus plan.

According to the news release from the U. S. House, both the Senate and House bills include two types of funding, funding that goes directly to school districts and funding that is distributed through the state.

Shaffer said there was no use speculating on money coming from the federal sources concerning Title I or IDEA (special ed.) due to strings attached. He believes that the amount listed was for the aforementioned curriculum and not for capital improvements.

Concerning capital improvements Shaffer said that the school keeps an active list of projects and has paid close attention lately anticipating having to move quickly (“shovel ready” is a term being thrown about to qualify for funding) to take advantage of allocated funds for building and maintenance.

But Shaffer said that he didn’t see anywhere in the news release where they kept any of the capital improvement funds for building and renovation.

Among projects previously mentioned by Shaffer were roof replacement and repair, finishing the top floor of the old Red Brick Building, and adding a ninth grade wing to South Panola High School.

North Panola Schools were closed Monday for a Presidents’ Day holiday with no one available for comment.

This version of the recovery package would provide an estimated $49.1 million in funds for schools in all 24 counties of the First Congressional District and $249.5 million for schools throughout Mississippi over the next two years.

These funds will be given directly to individual school districts.