TPS Plans How To Use Stimulus Money

Friday, March 20th 2009, 4:42 pm
By: News On 6

By Dan Bewley, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- School districts across the state are gearing up for stimulus money.

The state Department of Education expects $287 million from the president's economic recovery package.

Tulsa Public Schools is looking at close to $30 million in stimulus money. Superintendent Keith Ballard says the money is split in two ways.

One deals with school improvement -- $16 million that focuses solely on reading and math.

Dr. Ballard says there's a strict formula that determines which schools can take advantage of the money. Right now, he says 78 Tulsa schools are on the list.

"I think you will see more after school, extended day, use of technology, hopefully some smaller classes," he said.

The other $12 million is set aside for special education. Dr. Ballard says is difficult to say exactly what the money will be used for but hopes to be able to make it last for several years and hire new employees.

"Particularly consultants and probably teachers on a short-term basis," he said.

Other schools across the area are getting a piece of the pie as well. The state estimates Broken Arrow and Union are looking at more than $4 million each, Jenks close to $3 million, and Owasso at $1.7 million.

Part of the president's decree for using stimulus money is to be transparent about where it is spent. Dr. Ballard promises that will not be a problem with Tulsa schools.

"You will see a full and complete accountability that will be posted, all questions answered and we will show exactly where we are spending those dollars," he  said.

Dr. Ballard says the other key note with stimulus money is stirring up the economy. He thinks the plan will work.

"We may be able to increase our workforce and, I think, buying materials and technology, hiring consultants," he said.

Dr. Ballard says the district won't get the money until the end of April.