On the eve of President Barack Obama’s first State of the Union speech last week, officials in a South Carolina town announced funding for a crumbling school the president had cited in a speech nearly a year earlier as an example of how the federal government should help with school construction.
School officials got the news they’d been waiting for—federal officials had approved funds to build a new J.V. Martin Junior High School—on Jan. 26. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said it had approved a request for nearly $40 million in recovery act funds for the Dillon County school, most of it in the form of a loan.
A spokesman for South Carolina Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom, whose office has been tracking the state’s federal economic-stimulus funding, called it curious that the request was approved the day before the president’s Jan. 27 address.
Ray Rogers, the superintendent of Dillon School District 2 was pleased, though he also said the timing was surprising. He’d been told approval would probably take a few more weeks.
The White House and the Agriculture Department did not comment on the timing of the announcement.
A version of this article appeared in the February 03, 2010 edition of Education Week as Dilapidated S.C. School Scheduled To Be Replaced, Officials Announce