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East Texas superintendents say stimulus for schools to expand learning programs, improve facilities

Updated: May. 10, 2021 at 7:57 PM CDT
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GREGG COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - Texas schools are eligible to receive part of a $19 billion stimulus grant from the federal government now, and they are planning to use it in practical ways, according to two superintendents in Gregg County.

Longview ISD Superintendent Dr. James Wilcox says that though the money won’t help in the current school year or even the year after that, the $19.66 million allocated for the district will be gratefully used when it does arrive.

Wilcox said the money will be used in several practical ways.

First, the district plans to use money for extended learning, which includes after school tutoring as well as extended year tutoring for all students, not just those who have academic struggles. He says those programs have always been desired, but because of lack of funding, they aren’t able to serve students with these expanded learning opportunities like they will be able to after receiving this money.

“It will be expanded and will involve more students and staff for a longer period of time,” Wilcox said.

He said in addition to paying faculty and staff from that money to work in these expanded learning situations, they’ll also work on a practical need in the building itself.

“We had virutally no flu this year, due to precautions for COVID, so we want to continue to improve our air quality in our schools,” Dr. Wilcox said.

He said that keeping students healthy is not only good for them, but good for the financial situation of the school district.

Stacey Bryce, Superintendent of Sabine ISD, agrees.

“We plan to update the A/C units for improved air quality in our schools,” Bryce said. “And any other building updates things that will offer our students a safe environment.”

Bryce said the money for his district, reportedly $1.4 million, will also be used for extended year programs and extended day programs for all students.

“The grant runs through September 2024, so there will be long-lasting benefit for kids, longer than just one or two years. The bottom line is to make sure the money is spent best for the kids to help improver their environment and their education.”

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