January 12, 2004 — Posted at 6:01 P.M.
VALLEY VIEW—The Arkansas Department of Education has millions of dollars of federal funding available, but one Region 8 school is getting nothing.
The Bush Administration and the Education Department charge that all 50 states have billions of dollars in unused federal money from 2000 to 2002. The state of Arkansas has a little over 11 million dollars to be used for 6 major education programs, but the Valley View School District says all of their Title I money was taken away from them.
"We received absolutely nothing," said Valley View School Superintendent Radius Baker.
Baker says all schools depend heavily on federal funding. Last year his district received 76 thousand dollars, but this year The Census determined that Valley View did not meet a poverty level that makes them eligible to receive money. As a result, Valley View has chosen to tax their patrons in order to maintain school programs.
"Valley View has on of the highest local taxes in this area. I'm not proud of that, but it just shows you that we have a very supportive community," said Baker.
The biggest portion of federal education funding goes toward Title I, and other programs designed to meet the No Child Left Behind Act. In addition to needing money for those programs, Baker says Valley View desperately needs that money for safety purposes.
They have a safe room that was constructed back in 1986 and at the time it could accommodate the entire student population, but since then Valley View has grown. They've tried on 4 different occasions to get federal funding for the construction of a new safe room, and each time the same thing happens.
"I think all school districts in this area have applied and received, but we haven't received any," said Baker.