Bee County schools may get share of $825b economic stimulus package
by Scott Reese Willey
Jan 28, 2009 | 1480 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Public schools in Bee County could receive a combined $4.8 million over the next two years if the $825 billion economic stimulus package under consideration by Congress is approved.

The Beeville Independent School District is poised to receive $3.8 million over the next two years if the present package is adopted.

Pettus ISD could potentially receive $342,900 and Pawnee ISD could receive $94,700 over the two-year period. Skidmore-Tynan ISD stands to get $557,900.

U.S. Rep. Rubén Hinojosa, D-Mercedes, rushed to share the good news with the school districts on Tuesday.

These estimates are based on a proposal which the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to approve on Wednesday, Hinojosa explained. The Senate also introduced its own version of the stimulus package earlier this week, he said.

The House Appropriations Committee reported its economic stimulus bill out of committee and the bill will now go to the House floor for debate.

Of the $3.8 million allocated to BISD, $2.27 million would go toward helping Beeville’s low-income students and students with disabilities, Hinojosa explained in a news release. The other $1.59 million would go toward the construction, renovation and modernization of classrooms, labs, libraries and other facilities, he said.

“This is great news for Beeville ISD,” said Hinojosa, whose congressional district includes Bee County. “Once passed, this bill will help provide Beeville students with technologically updated, energy-efficient schools to learn in and create good construction jobs for local workers. It’s truly a win-win for the community as a whole.”

Pettus Superintendent Tucker Rackley said Tuesday afternoon that he would wait to see a check before getting too excited about the unexpected windfall.

“We’re not getting too excited about it. What did the Jerry Maguire say, ‘Show me the money’? Well, show me the money, then I’ll get excited.”

He said the $342,000 would come in handy to the cash-strapped school district.

“I hope that if Congress does, and legislators do pass the stimulus package that Pettus ISD will receive its fair share,” he said. “We certainly will make good use of the money.”

Over the next few weeks, Congress will be finalizing the full economic recovery package, which is a concerted effort to create and save 3 million to 4 million jobs and jumpstart America’s economy, Hinojosa explained.

In addition to the substantial investment in education, the plan calls for the rebuilding of the nation’s crumbling roads and bridges, as well as $500 million to support loans that will help rural families buy homes during the credit crunch, he said.

“We have a recovery plan that not only calls for swift action, it calls for smart investments that will build a stronger, more competitive nation in the long term,” Hinojosa said. “It is critical that we get this to the president as soon as possible.”

The House version of the $825 billion economic stimulus package calls for allocating an estimated $41 billion to school districts nationwide.

“This is good news for schools, good news for the economy and good news for companies that sell to government,” said Mary Scott Nabers, president and CEO of Strategic Partnerships, Inc. “Not only will the federal economic stimulus funding provide Texas schools with some much-needed additional funding for facilities, programs and technology, but it will also open up additional contracting opportunities for local businesses to sell their goods and services to school districts, providing a much-needed boost to local economies.”

The $41 billion in funds earmarked for public schools nationwide includes $13 billion each for both Title I and IDEA — Individuals with Disabilities Education Act — programs, both of which are based on formula funding and address high poverty schools and special needs students, respectively, Nabers said.

Another $14 billion is estimated to be allocated for school modernization and repairs and an estimated $1 billion could be allocated for education technology, she added.

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