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Local schools qualify for $5 million in stimulus funds

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Nashville, TN – Governor Phil Bredesen and Commissioner of Education Dr. Timothy Webb today announced the first round of funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) for Individuals with Disabilities.

“As we increase our curriculum and standards, the benefit of having increased funding for Tennessee students with disabilities will be vital to local education agencies, schools, teachers and, most importantly, the students,” Bredesen said. “These additional dollars in the classroom will be a tremendous boost to our education system.”

These allocations represent approximately half of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) funding that will be available to school districts.

Tennessee is slated to receive $114,806,709 in IDEA funding and $3,672,971.50 specifically for preschools.

Rutherford County Schools is eligible for $4,202,408.45 for IDEA and $133,736.71 for preschools. Murfreesboro City Schools is eligible for $914,904.03 in IDEA funds and $57,197.75 for preschools.

The stimulus money represents significant funding for programs that help ensure children with disabilities, including children age 3-5, are provided services that meet their needs.

Possible uses of these funds could include professional training for special education teachers, data collection to improve teaching and learning, and improving overall student achievement.

“We are excited to have these additional funds going to provide students the services they need to be fully included in the classroom alongside their peers,” Webb said. “Our goal is for all students to gain the knowledge necessary to lead productive lives.”

School districts must apply for these funds, just as they have for regular allocations of federal IDEA dollars. Applications will be available on the Tennessee Department of Education’s Web site. Each school district’s awarded allocation will also be posted online.

The remaining portion of ARRA IDEA funds will be awarded by September 30, 2009.
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