Representative Eric Swafford (R-Pikeville) announced recently that Cumberland County will be receiving funds for individuals with disabilities through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Specifically, the money will be allocated to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), that will be available to school districts. Cumberland County will receive $910,906.

“This funding is very important to Cumberland County Schools, and we are very grateful that our students with disabilities will be receiving this money to advance educational activities,” said Representative Swafford.

The ARRA funding will give educational opportunity to children with disabilities, including children ages 3-5, and ensure that they are provided with services that will meet their needs. Possible uses for the money could include professional training for special education teachers, data collection to improve teaching and learning, and improving overall student achievement. 
“My hope is that these funds will allow students with disabilities the same educational opportunities as their peers. It can assist teacher training and data collection so that we know what works in a classroom and what doesn’t. There is always room for improvement, and this will put the resources for excellence at our teacher’s fingertips,” added Rep. Swafford.

School districts must apply for the funds, just as they have for regular allocations of federal IDEA dollars. Applications will be available on the Tennessee Department of Education’s Web site. Each school district’s awarded allocation will also be posted online. The remaining portion of the ARRA IDEA funds will be awarded by Sept. 30, 2009. For more information, visit tn.gov/education or contact Rachel Woods at (615) 253-1960.

Representative Eric Swafford is serving his third term in the legislature. He represents Cumberland and Bledsoe counties, and serves on the House state and local government and consumer and employee affairs committees.