This much is certain: Madison County Schools will receive stimulus money.
How much stimulation that will mean is uncertain, however.
“We ought to find out exactly what we’re going to get within three to four weeks, hopefully sooner,” Superintendent Mitch McGhee said.
The amount of freedom the school system will have with the unknown sum of money also remains a major question mark.
A large portion of the stimulus money will arrive in the form of Title I funds, dollars that are handed down with restrictions. Title I money can’t be used to fund anything a school system paid for with local or state money last year.
School leaders hoped some of those restrictions would be waived, but none have been lifted yet.
“Right now, all those restrictions are still in place, which is going to make it tougher on us,” McGhee said.
Meaning it will be harder to avoid some of the cuts in Madison County’s $2.5 million spending reduction plan.
McGhee has asked each of the seven schools in the system to cut $102,000 in spending as part of that plan.
Relaxing the restriction rule would free up money to save several clerical, paraprofessional and even classified positions that were proposed to be cut.
But if the school system has less of a say in how that money is spent, it may be harder to save jobs with stimulus dollars.
“What we may have to do is kind of create some new positions and put some old people in them,” McGhee said.
Madison County originally hoped to receive $514,000 in stimulus money, but that amount was trimmed.
“That had some construction money in it, and they (congress) took all the construction money in it when it was finally passed,” McGhee said.
Now, Madison County is looking for at least $220,000, which may or may not be subject to restrictions.
Unsure of a dollar amount and the specifics behind it, Madison County school leaders are preparing for many scenarios.
“We’re just kind of making all kind of different plans on what we can use that money for, and then when we get a dollar amount we can start plugging it in,” McGhee said.
The superintendent said he’s sure of one thing, though.
“We’re certainly going to spend all that they send us, and we are going to use it to save and create jobs,” McGhee said. “We may just be a little creative with that.”
I would like to know when McGhee is going to update the transportation department. We are over loaded on bus'es now. We need new routes, there isn't many bus'es to open new routes. And we going to do with the students when we start a new school year? Why is this department always put last, and no one never tells what good jobs our drivers do for us. Some buses have 60 to 66 kids right now, and this is not safe. Look at the high and middle school students how big their are and try to get three to a seat. We need buses now, not two years from now. Parents wake up take a look at what your child goes to school in every day. The buses we have are falling apart. This is Madison County's fault we have no better buses, not the people who is under McGhee. He is the one that has the say where the money goes and who gets it first. Put a hole on youe wish list McGhee for the high school and get some buses in your County.