In Wednesday's Dougherty County School Board meeting, the board voted unanimously to approve payments of $60,000 a month to the Water Gas and Light Commission.
The school system owes over $400,000 to the commission for federal E-rate payments. E-rate funds provide schools with wireless internet and other technology related items.
The federal payments stopped because of the system's Title I expenditure problems. R.D. Harter with the school system said there had been some problems with employee's students' receiving free or reduced school lunches and it's because of that ongoing investigation that the federal payments stopped and the school system fell behind. Harter said the WG&L commission hadn't received payments for nearly 15 months.
The amount of E-rate funds is decided by the poverty level of a school system just like the free and reduced school lunches. Until the problem with the school lunches is resolved, the school system won't know their exact poverty level which in turn affects the E-rate funds.
Harter said the $60,000 a month payments will come from the system's reserve, and even though they have the money to make the payments, it's still a large chunk and it is going to hurt them.
John Vansant, WG&L's finance director, also confirmed the lack of payments is due to the issues the school system is having with Title I expenditures but he is confident that the school system will be reimbursed and they will pay their debt to the commission.
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