Houston schools budget includes $2 million in federal fund thought lost

jmink@macon.comMay 14, 2013 

PERRY -- Houston County school officials expect funding from a federal program next fiscal year, despite earlier projections those funds would be cut under sequestration.

A proposed 2013-14 budget includes about $2 million in Impact Aid funding, money allocated to school districts with a large population of children from military families. Earlier in the year, school officials braced for complete cuts to the program, but Impact Aid funding seems to be included in President Barack Obama’s budget for next year, said Stephen Thublin, assistant superintendent for finance and business operations.

“Every indication is that we will have Impact Aid funding in the future,” Thublin said Monday during a board of education work session.

After the board of education regular session Tuesday, Thublin said funds continue to flow into the school system through the program, and the district recently received a federal letter informing the school system that it once again qualifies for Impact Aid.

School officials expect those federal dollars to continue into next fiscal year, though “it may be at a reduced rate,” Thublin said.

It’s a boost for the district budget, which includes no job cuts and no furloughs next fiscal year. Board members are expected to vote on the tentative budget in June.

In addition to reviewing the proposed budget, board members approved the purchase of 187 Smart document cameras -- tools that interact with smartboards and other classrooms devices, allowing teachers to create multimedia, video conference with students, view images in 3-D and other techniques. The cameras will be placed in classrooms, which currently do not have such technology, at a total cost of about $85,000.

Board members also approved a transfer of property to the city of Perry. A 0.36 acre tract of land near Perry Primary School and Sunshine Avenue will be transferred to the city. The property has been used for the city’s recycling program for many years, according to a district document.

To contact writer Jenna Mink, call 256-9751.

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