Schools feel pinch of missing lotto money

March 13, 2009 2:51:57 PM PDT
When it rains it pours inside Ireland Drive Middle school. The roof is more than 30-years-old and needs to be replaced. "Well it's really bad. As you can see we have a lot of leaks in the ceiling. Also in my office I have a lot of leaks. If we have steady rain for a couple days, we're going to have a whole lot of spots in our ceiling," said Principal Shanessa Fenner.

Governor Purdue wants to recall some $88 million in lottery money from local school systems to shore up the state's general coffers. Acting Superintendent Tim Kinlaw says that money is needed to make major repairs around the school system.

"We had some funds we received the second quarter, which is almost two million dollars. And we thought at first that those funds were - since we had received them - but now there's a possibility they would take those funds back also," he said.

Cumberland County could lose up to $4four million earmarked for several major school improvement projects, including additional classrooms at McCarther and Cashwell Elementary Schools. New air conditioning and heating systems are also needed at several schools, including T.C. Berrien Elementary., Douglas Byrd Middle and E.E. Smith High.

"If the lottery funds and even the State Building School Fund - if they're eliminated next year - then we're going to have some desperate - some items that desperately need to be replaced - we won't be able to. We'll just have to wait," said Kinlaw.

Kinlaw says he'll know in about three weeks if his schools get to keep some lottery money.

Cumberland isn't the only district feeling the pinch. Durham Public Schools will have to postpone at least four planned renovations because it's losing lottery money.


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