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Story Archives: Stimulus funds watched
|Stimulus funds watched|
With economic stimulus proposals attracting national attention, local school officials are cautiously monitoring events which could pour millions of dollars into the Franklin Parish School system.
If Congress passes the stimulus plan offered in the American Recovery and Investment Act of 2009 in its current form, Franklin Parish could receive $4.7 million dollars over a two-year period as an investment in its school system.
"The amounts allocated for education, Title 1 programs and construction have been modified since the inception of the bill," said school board supt. Lanny Johnson, "but I believe the U.S. Senate will pass a modified version this week."
In a recent radio address and television appearances, President Obama stressed a "need for speed," in stimulating the current economy with the recovery bill.
As the bill stands, local Title I programs could receive some $795,000 each year for two years and $451,000 each year for Special Education and IDEA projects (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act). According to Johnson, $2.8 million would be used to supplement ongoing construction projects, though he believes that figure will decrease before the bill is passed.
"Programs such as Title I and Special Education are federal programs and are already funded," said Johnson. "Construction is what will put more money into the economy. They're going about this a little backward."
In other school news, Dr. Lavonne Sheffield of the Recovery School District met with Johnson recently to discuss the future of Winnsboro Elementary and explain the process of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
An MOU is a contract between the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) and the Franklin Parish School Board, which outlines steps toward bringing the school up to speed. Under the contract, the school remains in the control and jurisdiction of the local school board with state oversight.
Supt. Johnson and administrators from 10 other northeast Louisiana schools deemed academically unacceptable will meet later this week in Shreveport with Sheffield and Dr. Paul Vallas, overseer of the Recovery School District.
"We're not sure what the stipulations are going to be," said Johnson, "but it seems that we would have some input in this process."