Take Note: Sharing the wealth; Sparing the salary

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It's more than holiday spirit that makes a Tennessee sheriff want to give schools a share of $897,000 found in the car of a suspected drug trafficker.

"Most of the people we lock up never had a chance to learn about the effects of drugs as kids," Ron McClellan, the sheriff of Campbell County, said.

To change that, Mr. McClellan wants his department's $717,000 cut of the money--which he gets under federal drug-seizure laws--to pay for two drug-education officers and classroom supplies for local schools.

Police found the cash Sept. 3 while issuing a speeding ticket to the driver of the car.

Despite his own equipment needs, Mr. McClellan said his staff has "agreed to take care of the children first."

The money is a nice windfall for the 6,500-student Campbell County school district, which is one of the poorest systems in Tennessee. Seventy-five percent of the district's students qualify for subsidized-meal programs.

"Anything he'd provide will be greatly appreciated," Jim Finley, the assistant superintendent of the school system, said.

Mr. McClellan, a father of two, said: "Children are the future of the country and must be educated. It may sound square, but that's the way I feel."

The winner of $8.9 million in the Pennsylvania lottery wants to be superintendent of the Panther Valley schools, and he says he will do the job for $1 a year plus expenses.

But Ted Yackera, 34, who previously has been a business manager for the school system, said he should not be hired just because he has offered to work for so little pay.

"I think they need a leader to pull the community together," Mr. Yackera said. "I'm open and honest with the public and want to include the public in education." The win-win situation, as he calls it, would save the district nearly $200,000 over three years.

The district's school board is expected to name a new superintendent by March.

Mr. Yackera, who most recently worked for the Elizabethtown Area school district, won the lottery in October. His last day with the Elizabethtown schools was last Friday.

Mr. Yackera said he will be disappointed if he is not named superintendent and would consider running for the school board.

"But with $9 million," he said, "I have a lot of options."-- Robert C. Johnston

Vol. 14, Issue 12

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