Lee County Schools to seek stimulus money

TUPELO – The Lee County School Board passed a resolution on Tuesday that opened the door for up to $3 million in federal stimulus funds.
“There’s $132 million that’s been given to the states for the schools to apply for,” said Randy Thweatt, the district’s business manager. “Each school district can get up to $3 million.”
The funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis, said Thweatt, who plans to personally deliver the signed application to officials in Jackson today.
If the 12-school district receives the money, “What we’re looking at doing is centrally heating and cooling all our schools,” Thweatt said.
“We have 143 window air-conditioning units currently in the district at all of the older schools. Right now my estimation on doing that is around $2.5 million.”
Schools that could expect HVAC upgrades include Saltillo Elementary, Shannon Elementary, Mooreville High, Shannon High and parts of Guntown Middle.
Any leftover money would be used for a classroom addition at Guntown, Thweatt said, noting that the stimulus funds are actually no-interest loans that must be repaid within 14 years.
At its meeting last week, the Tupelo Public School District Board of Trustees voted to apply for the money for construction projects at Tupelo High School.
Contact Ginny Miller at (662) 678-1582 or ginny.miller@djournal.com.

Ginny Miller/NEMS Daily Journal