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Schools to get $1.6 million

The cash-strapped Washington County School System will receive a $1.6 million infusion courtesy of the Education Jobs Bill that has been touted as a way to save teaching jobs across the nation.
Director of Schools Ron Dykes told school board members at a Sept. 2 meeting that the funds are a “continuation of stimulus funding,” and can be applied to curriculum needs the system had to cut in the face of a $1 million budget shortfall.
The bill, which sent Tennessee $194 million for teacher salaries, was distributed to school systems through the state Department of Education.
When the last dose of stimulus funds came into Washington County, there were some restrictions on how the money could be spent, but Dykes is hoping the newer money will come with more freedom on how to spend it.
The school system was most recently forced to cut several positions, as well as funding for new textbooks, buses and field trips, among other cuts previously made to the system in the areas of technology and staff development.
As previously reported, the school should also receive some funds from a $21 million grant recently awarded to the Niswonger Foundation, to be spread out over 15 school systems.

In other news, the school board welcomed two new members at the meeting, David Hammond and Jack Leonard, who replaced Dallas Hardin and Eric Barnes.

The Daniel Boone JROTC reported to the board they were selected as the most outstanding program in the Southeastern U.S. by the Marine Corps Reserve Association, one of only five schools recognized nationwide.
This is the first time the program has received the award, though it has been recognized for 12 consecutive years as one of the top 20 programs nationwide.

Twenty days into the 2010-2011 school year, enrollment wavers around 9,154, Dykes said, about 45 students less than last year, with no concentrated pockets of absences. County high schoolers are adjusting to block scheduling, as are teachers. Most of the reviews have been positive, Dykes said.
Dykes also spoke to the school board members and those present about safety precautions in the wake of a gunman entering Sullivan Central High School, emphasizing that safety has been, is, and always will be his ultimate goal as director.