McCook Public Schools could use its American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds to add four early childhood preschool classrooms at McCook Elementary.
That concept would meet the federal government's requirement that its recovery funds be used for special education projects. Moving preschool special education students into new classrooms would free up existing classroom space for K-3 students, several of whose populations are larger than normal.
MPS Finance Director Rick Haney told board of education members Monday evening that new classrooms would mean that the anticipated $750,000 in ARRA funds would have a permanent impact on the school district. Haney said that the administrative team would like to use the funds for long-term benefit, spending them on something the district couldn't otherwise do.
Haney said the school district would spend only the amount of ARRA funding that it receives, and would not add general fund money to whatever project or projects that are ultimately approved by the board of education.
The remodeled and expanded former North Ward Elementary, now four years old and known as McCook Elementary, was designed with built-in expansion options on the north and southwest. Board President Tom Bredvick said the facility was designed for about 400 students; its population today is 450.
Haney said the elementary facility "is fantastic" as it is, but added, "We can always use more classroom space."
Haney stressed that no final decision has been made regarding the use of the ARRA funds, that the classroom expansion is "an option, a concept" that the administrative team is exploring.