Weatherford Democrat

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May 12, 2011

Public schools receive dollars through fund

WEATHERFORD — Texas public schools may find a little breathing room after the announcement from State Rep. Phil King that the allocation of federal education dollars has been made available to schools, netting district schools in Parker and Wise counties a total of $8 million.

“This money will help save the jobs of teachers and classroom staff during these hard economic times,” King stated in a release. “It is crucial that during this difficult time, we focus on keeping money in the classroom to support the teachers who work so hard for our children and the future of Texas.”

Weatherford ISD alone will receive $1.2 million in funds, which may not be used for central office employees, administrative expenses or construction.

The money comes from the Education Jobs Fund, a new federal program that provides $10 billion in assistance to states to save or create education jobs for the 2010-11 school year. Jobs funded under this program include service providers for childhood, elementary and secondary education.

“We are very pleased that the Education Jobs Fund has been released from the U.S. Congress,” WISD superintendent Deborah Cron said. “Even though this money was supposed to have been received at the beginning of the school year, we are grateful that it has finally arrived.”

The funds, announced to schools Tuesday, were first issued from the U.S. Department of Education to the Texas Education Agency before making their way to the local district levels.

In addition to Weatherford, other districts in Parker County were also affected.

Aledo ISD received $699,091 in funds, Brock ISD received $159,050 in funds, Millsap received $154,205 in funds, Peaster received $190,795 in funds, Poolville received $104,079 in funds, and Springtown received $578,029 in funds.

In addition to teaching staff, the money may also go toward employees such as principals, assistant principals, counselors, librarians, secretaries, social workers, psychologists, interpreters, physical therapists, nurses, athletic coaches, security officers, custodians, maintenance crews, bus drivers and cafeteria workers.

Though the funds may help ease the financial situation for some districts, Weatherford is still keeping a close eye on the Texas legislature.

“House Bill 400 is the one we’re watching closely,” Derik Moore, director of communication at WISD, said. “On the Senate side, we’re watching Senate Bill 22.”

House Bill 400 relates to the flexibility for public schools to administer primary and secondary education efficiently, while Senate Bill 22 relates to public school finance and prekindergarten programs.

With the legislature still in session, Cron said Weatherford would make no definite moves until the session is complete.

“A decision has not yet been made as to how Weatherford ISD will use these funds because of the many unknown funding cuts coming from the state,” she said.

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