Lake Tahoe Unified will apply for federal stimulus dollars |

Lake Tahoe Unified will apply for federal stimulus dollars

Sara Thompson / Tahoe Daily Tribune

The Lake Tahoe Unified School district is ready to take advantage of federal stimulus dollars for its construction projects.

The district plans to apply for a $25 million interest-free loan by Aug. 25 to alleviate potential cash-flow issues with the state matching funds, Superintendent Jim Tarwater said at the Tuesday LTUSD board meeting.

Part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act 2009 is the Qualified School Construction Bond program, Tarwater said.

ARRA provides $22 billion nationwide for the program for this year and next. California’s share is $2.7 billion, according to a statement from California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell.

Of the allocated amount, $582 million has already been directly allocated to the state’s 11 largest school districts, another $700 million is available this year for other qualifying school districts, and $73 million is available for qualifying charter schools. The remaining $1.3 billion will be allocated in 2010.

The bonds provide federal tax credits for bondholders in lieu of interest in order to significantly reduce an issuer’s cost of borrowing, according to the QSCB parameters.

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Tarwater said it’s interest free money that will cover the $22.5 million in state matching funds the district is supposed to receive for its Measure G construction projects. This will alleviate potential cash flow concerns, he added.

“Staying the course is paying off for us,” Tarwater said.

Board member Larry Green said not all school are prepared like LTUSD to take advantage of federal dollars.

“This is perfect for us because we have money coming in and projects going on,” Green said.

The $22.5 million also includes the joint use facility with the city, Tarwater said.

The city and LTUSD applied for joint-use facility funds, and received $3.2 million from the state in matching funds. The money will be used to build a student union and community center at South Tahoe High School, Tarwater said.

The first floor will have the multipurpose room and student union, and the second floor will have rooms for a community center, Tarwater said.

In other news at the Tuesday meeting:

– The district will receive a $37,218 grant for new kitchen equipment, said Shelley Giannotta, LTUSD school nutrition and purchasing director.

Bijou Community School will get a refrigerated cabinet, Sierra House Elementary school will get a new oven and range, South Tahoe Middle School and Tahoe Valley Elementary School will get heated cabinets.

– Two new courses will be offered at the high school: Advanced Placement European history and weight training.

– The school board voted to establish a dean of athletics position at the high school.

Board member Duane Wallace said the position will better communication with athletes, parents, coaches and the administration.

The district will post application requirements for the position soon.