Fairbanks schools to accept $10 million in stimulus money

Officials: Short-term expenditures will have long-term benefits

Posted: Tuesday, October 20, 2009

FAIRBANKS - The Fairbanks North Star Borough School Board plans to formally accept $10 million in federal stimulus money Tuesday, a move that will add more than a dozen new jobs while helping the district start programs aimed at helping students prepare for college and careers.

Since the spring, district officials have met with teachers, parents and members of the community to decide how to spend the funds. Following a work session in June, the district approved projects based on three factors: grant requirements, how the project would benefit students and sustainability after the three-year grants run out.

Many of the projects, district officials said, are designated for short-term expenditures that will have long-term benefits, such as buying materials, improving technology and teacher training.

"The programs are far reaching in a lot of different areas in our district," said Leslie Hajdukovic, the board president. "It's allowing us to make purchases the district has needed that we've never had the money for and also allows to keep programs we otherwise wouldn't be able to afford."

In the next three years, the district will work with $15 million in stimulus grants to fund more than 30 projects, such as $2 million for districtwide technology and a $1.3 million program to pay for mentors to improve graduation rates.

Much of the money will go toward programs aimed at preparing students for college and careers, including more instructional support and career training, such as a $450,000 program to help minority children with math tutoring and other support services.

The district is also scheduled to receive more than $3.5 million to improve special education.

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