Stimulus Money Being Spent, But No Jobs Created Yet

Amarillo Assistant City Manager Vicki Covey
Amarillo Assistant City Manager Vicki Covey
AISD Spokeswoman Holly Shelton
AISD Spokeswoman Holly Shelton

By Megan Moore
NewsChannel 10

Amarillo, Texas - New playgrounds, new transit projects, new computers, but not very many new jobs.  Money from the federal stimulus package is being used here in Amarillo, but it has some very tight restrictions.

Between the City of Amarillo and the Amarillo School District, there is a total of about 34 million stimulus dollars to be spent here.

But as far as we know right now, it will only create about 22 local jobs.

Let's start with the city, which has around $20 million to spend.

Amarillo Assistant City Manager Vicki Covey says, "we have some transit projects going on, so that was really our first piece we got in and we have about $4 million in transit funding, which will help on operating costs and maintenance for our busses."

$7 million is also going toward the Grand Street bridge project.

The rest goes toward community development for "playgrounds, and those bids are out and the rest will be used to help with emergency repair and homelessness and prevention," says Covey.  The playgrounds will be at Forest Hills Elementary and Eastridge Elementary.

Covey says she knows for sure two part time jobs will be created, and others will be created later through private contracts.

To the school district now, which has $14 million total to spend.

AISD Spokeswoman Holly Shelton says, "we're spending it like we're being told to spend it, and we're submitting those receipts and we'll be reimbursed eventually but the process does take a little bit of time."

How they're being told to spend it is this: only title one schools - which have high numbers of economically disadvantaged students - or special education programs get funding.  Title One schools are Caprock and Palo Duro High Schools.

So, Shelton says "some of our campuses have extra money they're spending on instruction, programs, and technology while other campuses will not get a dime of that money."

Shelton says AISD's stimulus money will create about 20 jobs and save another 20.