Schools get stimulus money to bring technology into classrooms

Rick Wagner • Apr 22, 2009 at 12:00 AM

More federal stimulus money is proposed to flow into local school systems, this time focused on bringing technology to classrooms.

Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen and Commissioner of Education Timothy Webb on Tuesday announced more than $5.8 million in Title IID Education Technology funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The money comes in addition to funds already earmarked for special education and programs for students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunches.

In Northeast Tennessee, the largest amount of technology money is to go to the largest school system. Sullivan County will receive $60,887 on top of its regular appropriation of $24,758.

Sullivan County Director of Schools Jack Barnes said the money likely will go toward technology, instructing teachers how to use it, and possibly some new distance learning programs.

Kingsport is in line for $40,509 in addition to its regular $16,472. School system spokeswoman Amy Greear said Superintendent Richard Kitzmiller would meet with staff Thursday to look at potential uses for the money.

Hawkins County is to get $55,173, Rogersville $3,200, Hancock County $18,073, Greene County $36,064 and Greeneville $19,550.

The funding will be available for districts to “effectively integrate technology into the classroom,” according to a news release from the state.

Other area districts and their amounts are Bristol, Tenn., $18,528, Carter County $40,199, Elizabethton $17,188, Johnson City $36,064, Washington County $39,860 and Unicoi County $12,980.

“Tennessee must remain at the forefront in using technology to better serve students in their future careers,” Bredesen said. “There is no doubt that this generation will need the skills these grants will help build to be successful in any career they choose.”

The focus of the funds “is to effectively integrate technology into the classroom curriculum and increase student achievement, as well as assist every student in crossing the digital divide by ensuring their technological literacy by the time they complete eighth grade, regardless of the student’s race, ethnicity, gender, family income, geographic location or disability,” states the release.

The funding is part of the Tennessee Department of Education’s proposed 2009-10 budget under consideration by the General Assembly. The allocations per district are to be be made available beginning July 1.

For more information go to http://tn.gov/education/recovery.shtml.

“More technology in the classroom is something our teachers and administrators are always pushing for, and it’s exciting to know that we now have additional dollars to help them achieve that goal,” Webb said in the release.

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