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Legislature gives $250,000 to local projects

By M.J. Ellington (334) 262-1104

MONTGOMERY — Schools and educational programs in Decatur and Morgan County
received almost $255,000 in legislative community service grants.

Also in the last round of grants approved in September, Athens and Limestone educational programs received almost $98,000 and Moulton and Lawrence County programs took in almost $73,000.

This is tax money earmarked in the education budget. House members and senators each get designated amounts.

Decatur, Morgan County

In House District 8, Rep. Bill Dukes, D-Decatur, submitted grants that netted $70,700 for programs in Decatur and Morgan County.

While most of the district funds went to schools, Calhoun Community College also received $25,000 for the Russell C. Smith Memorial Endowment Scholarship.

The Smith scholarships are for students who complete their high school graduation requirements through a General Ed-ucational Development diplo-ma study at the Decatur cam-pus and desire to attend college.

Amounts by district

Rep. Ronald Grantland, D-Hartselle's House District 9 grants include $30,000 for programs in Hartselle and $37,200 for other Morgan County recipients.

Rep. Micky Hammon, R-Decatur's House District 4 received $43,120 in the final grant distribution period.

Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur's Senate District 3 includes Limestone, Madison and Morgan counties.

During the final grant period, grants for Orr's district totaled $74,500, with all but $1,000 going to Morgan County and Decatur schools and libraries.

The largest portion of Rep. Jeremy Oden's House district is in Cullman and Blount counties.

But in grants from the Eva Republican's district, Brewer High School in Somerville got $5,000 of the $66,400 distributed during the period.

Limestone County

In Limestone County, schools and the Athens City Board of Education received all $55,200 in grants in Rep. Henry White's House District 5. White, D-Athens, represents Limestone County.

Limestone also got funds during the current grant period through Sen. Tom Butler, D-Madison, whose Senate District 2 includes portions of Limestone and Madison counties.

Butler's projects included $20,000 for county educational programs and Athens received $22,500 during the final grant period.

Orr also represents a portion of Limestone County, but recipients from his district received grants during an earlier grant cycle.

Rep. Jody Letson's House District 7 includes Lawrence and Winston counties. Letson, D-Hillsboro, submitted grants that totaled $70,200.

Of that amount, $54,000 went to school-related recipients in Lawrence County.

Sens. Roger Bedford, D-Russellville, and Zeb Little, D-Cullman, also represent portions of Lawrence County.

Proposals for Bedford's Senate District 6 totaled $165,500 for the period and all went to the Franklin County Board of Education.

In the final period, Little's Senate District 4 recipients received $25,250, with $2,500 going to Lawrence educational programs.

Funding formula

The local project funds are included in the $14.8 million in grants approved for schools and other education programs during the last legislative session.

By established formula, each Senate district receives a minimum of $177,192 each year and each House district, a minimum of $59,064 per year.

Community service grants — often referred to as pork — are put through two tiers of scrutiny after lawmakers submit applications they receive from their districts.

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