School Stimulus Money: The Good and the Bad

Rod Schroder, AISD Superintendent
Rod Schroder, AISD Superintendent

Millions of dollars are at stake for area school districts if the President's stimulus package passes in the Senate. But, the money may do more harm than good.

If the plan passes in the house, Amarillo could get $26 million, Hereford $3.5 million, Dumas $2.3 million and Borger $1.4 million.

Improving education; it's been a Democratic mantra for several weeks, and one that means allocating federal funds to local schools for the first time ever.

Borger ISD Superintendent Clifton Stephens says, "There's not a school district or superintendent in the Panhandle of Texas that wouldn't like to have more money."

Many of them just wish the money didn't come with so many strings attached. In fact, some school officials are even calling it potentially problematic.

AISD Superintendent Rod Schroder says this money has to be spent in two years, so when the programs are already in place and then the money is gone, it's "a serious concern. When you hire a new staff member or teacher do you tell them okay you're hired for two years but after that we don't know?".

Stephens says, "It's a one time quick fix." The money has to be spent in three places; Construction, under privileged schools, and special education.

Any money spent cannot go towards programs currently in place. "The earmarks that are put on the money that we'll be receiving could very well make it difficult for us to use the money as needed," says Stephens.

To give you an idea of just how much money we're talking about here; this new plan would more than double the Board of Education's 2008 discretionary budget.