UPDATE:Toyota money will fund school audit

NEW ALBANY – The first of the money that the Toyota Motor Corp. has promised to eight school districts in Pontotoc, Union and Lee counties will be used to fund curriculum management audits for those districts.
Toyota has promised a $50 million education enhancement endowment for public school districts in the three counties near its Blue Springs plant. The automaker will make its first $5 million payment to that fund in May.
The audits will begin soon. The eight of them will cost a total of $278,000. More projects could be announced soon, CREATE Foundation president Mike Clayborne said Wednesday at a press conference in New Albany.
Superintendents said that the audits will allow them to see their strengths and weaknesses as a district at a time when new state accountability standards are demanding they meet national standards.
“I really think this decision will improve student achievement more than anything I can see,” Lee County Superintendent Mike Scott said.
The announcement comes as the state awaits word on when Toyota’s Blue Springs facility will open.
Toyota spokeswoman Barbara McDaniel told the Associate Press that she hopes the move will reassure the state that the company is committed to resuming work on the plant at some point in the future.

Read more about this story in Thursday’s NEMS Daily Journal newspaper.

Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal