County schools to receive stimulus money

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By Jennifer Caldwell

In an economic time when budgets are tighter than ever, Campbell County’s school system received some good news last week.

The system will be getting an influx of nearly $1.7 million into its budget.

The Title I funding is being made available through stimulus money provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).  

The allocations are being made in an effort to help districts improve teaching and learning for students most at risk of failing to meet state and academic achievement standards.

The ARRA Title I dollars represent significant funding for schools that have high concentrations of students from families that live in poverty in order to help improve teaching and learning.

While Dr. Karen Bundren, federal programs director for the county, said any money received by the system is a welcome addition to the budget, the ARRA money is not without its share of red tape.

“There are lots of strings attached to the money,” Bundren explained.

According to Bundren, one of the stipulations of receiving the stimulus money applies to the way the money is distributed throughout the school system.

“The school with the highest level of poverty must receive the most money per pupil. Because the money is designated specifically for Title I schools none of the money can be used at Jacksboro Middle School or Campbell County High School,” Bundren said of the “spiral” approach of funding that allows the level of poverty in each school determine how much money it will receive in per pupil funding.

The federal programs director explained possible uses of the funds could include after school and summer school programs as well as staff development opportunities for the county’s Title I schools.

“We have to spend the money just like they tell us we can,” Bundren said elaborating on the stringent requirements that will accompany the generous sum of money.

Despite the potential for difficulty in making the spiral type funding work the most efficiently, Bundren said there is no question that the money will be put to good use.

“We will make sure the children of Campbell County get the most academic benefit they can from it,” Bundren concluded.

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