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Stimulus funds mean new classrooms for McCook Elementary
Four and a half years after the new McCook Elementary building, school officials are preparing to add on.
Did the original planners leave something out? Has the population increased so much that more space is needed? Yes, there are more students entering the system, and no, planners did the best they could with the bond money available when the current project was under construction.
But the main reason the project is being undertaken is that money is available through in federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus funding.
Some $336,000 in stimulus money has to be used for special education, so a new developmental learning classroom will be built on the northwest side of the new building. It will have its own entrance, which will alleviate some traffic congestion on the east side of the building at drop-off and pick up times.
It will also leave the current DLC and structured resource classrooms open to be used for some of the larger-than-usual K-3 classes coming up through the system.
An additional $14,000 in stimulus funding earmarked for preschool programs will be used to bring the existing preschool classrooms into compliance with ADA regulations, update a restroom in the classroom that is the original North Ward kindergarten in the south end of the main north-south hallway.
The burgeoning federal deficit is on the top of everyone's mind as we watch the spending bill pass and the health care bill advance, and general spending policies are worthy of debate.
But when generous federal funding is offered, local officials and the taxpayers they represent have little choice but to accept it.