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Stimulus money to support math, reading programs

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Staff reports

New York Mills School District #553 enters the upcoming school year with federal stimulus dollars, which the district will receive over the next 27 months.

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The federal stimulus money includes $149,277.73 for special education. The majority of these federal stimulus dollars will be used to offset the unreimbursed benefit cost of special education staff, according to Superintendent Todd Cameron.

These funds can't be used to pay for operational costs or regular instruction expenditures and can only be used for special education.

Title I funds from the stimulus total $89,919.83. These funds can only be used to support elementary reading and math programs. The majority of these dollars will be used to support Early Intervention Math (EIM) and additional support for reading and language arts.

The district hired a new elementary teacher for one year will provide additional support in math and reading for grades 3 and 4. Cameron said the district will also use these dollars to have additional sections of grades 5 and 6 for both math and reading. NY Mills will also be hiring a half time paraprofessional to assist with the Early Intervention Math focusing on math skills in the elementary. Title I Federal dollars can only be used in the elementary school.

NY Mills will receive $433,835 in State Aid but will have to reapply to the state in order to get the money. The state of Minnesota is withholding these dollars to help offset the state deficit. The good news, Cameron said, is the district will receive 100 percent of these funds throughout the school year. This is not new money, but is a way for the state to soften the deficit for one year.

"I think it is important that folks know that these funds are only available after submitting expenditures to the state of Minnesota on a monthly and quarterly basis," Cameron said. "We do not get the money up front and these are one time stimulus dollars that can not be budgeted for or used in the future."

Cameron added, the good news is that these funds do support additional staff for math and reading in the elementary school, and the federal special education dollars to help support the general fund for one year.

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