Stimulus funds could help schools

Published 11:01 pm Saturday, February 21, 2009

U.S. Sixth District Congressman Charlie Wilson visited Ironton Friday to promote the educational arm of the new federal economic stimulus project.

The package, approved by U.S. Congress last week and signed into law by President Obama this week, includes millions of additional dollars for both Title 1 funding that pays for programs for low income students and literacy programs and money as well for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) that aids children with special needs.

The plan also creates a state stabilization fund of more than $1.8 billion for Ohio to save jobs by staving off layoffs and harmful cuts to education, according to information from Wilson’s office.

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This is a good way of giving a hand up as opposed to a hand out,” Wilson said as he toured the new Ironton High School with Superintendent Dean Nance, Mayor Rich Blankenship, Economic Development Director Bill Dickens and city leaders.

Nance acknowledged the money is needed.

“I hope the stimulus money will be able to help us keep from having to lay off people,” Nance said. The district has had lay to lay off four people, two nurses and two administrators because of declining student enrollment. He does not want to have to lay off more people because of a declining economy.

Neither Nance nor Wilson are sure how much money, if any, local school districts will get from the stimulus package.

The economic stimulus package also includes some $2.3 billion for clean coal technology.

Ohio’s portion of the stimulus package will be decided and distribute by Gov. Ted Strickland’s office, Wilson said.