Schools, Airport See Millions In Federal Stimulus Funds - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Schools, Airport See Millions In Federal Stimulus Funds

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BOZEMAN - Gallatin County has gone through more than $7 million in stimulus funding, more than $4 million of that went to Bozeman Public Schools alone.

The school decided to start a new program, helping students in need with those funds.

“I can tell you the district has an increasing number of homeless students,” said Mike Waterman, Bozeman Schools Director of Business Services.

Bozeman Public Schools has a challenge in trying to make sure all students have the tools they need to succeed.

Now, thanks to a grant from the federal stimulus package, that program is in place. 

The school used a $40,924.62 grant from the department of education to create a family school coordinator position.

Anna Edwards currently holds the position.

It is her job to make sure the district's 90 to 100 homeless students get what they need to succeed in school.

 “We can also make sure they have transportation, so make sure they have a bus that goes to the shelter or whatever needs to happen to get them to and from school during the day,” said Edwards.  “We also sign them up for free lunch so we make sure they have food during the day.”

She said just making sure homeless students have food relieves a lot of stress and helps them perform better in school.

“A lot of times they're main concerns are going to be where they are staying at night or what they are going to be eating, transportation issues,” said Edwards.

Waterman said the grant was used up within two years, but they are able to keep the program going by combining funding sources, such as general fund and title one funds.

 “We piece it together because we realize it is an important function, so we piece the money together to keep it alive,” said Waterman.

The program also takes donations of food and clothing from the community and even students to help Bozeman schools’ homeless population.

“We also have had a lot of other students, their fellow peers that have really connected to this program and want to help out their fellow students,” said Edwards.

Bozeman public schools received nearly $4.4 million in stimulus funding.

Besides the homeless program, those funds went to special education, improving programs and financially stabilizing the district.

The Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport got a large amount of money from the stimulus fund.

The airport received a $3.2 million grant to install an automated checked baggage inspection system from the TSA.

Airport officials said the new system was installed when they expanded the terminal three years ago.

Until then, officials said all the bags were checked by hand.

“If we have not done it, we wouldn't be able to accommodate the numbers of passengers and bags that we now carry through the airport,” said Brian Sprenger, Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport director.

The airport actually came under budget for the project, using only about $2 million of the grant.

Sprenger said the left over money went to be used at other airports.

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