For those who are suspicious of the massive stimulus payments to states, they need look no further than the Polk County school district where officials announced that they would give away $350,000 of free iPod Nanos. After media coverage, the school has backed down from its not-so-stimulating plan.
While the original story said that it was stimulus money, the district now says it was coming from a fund for special needs children. A correction was issued for the original newspaper reports. However, that does not improve it much for critics who view this as a huge waste of money at a time when school budgets are being cut and states are selling off public lands and buildings. It would seem a pretty hard sell for school officials to ask for more money given such give-a-way programs.
The district announced that it would be giving the devices to reward parents of children with disabilities who filled out a 10-minute online survey. Do you really need to give away iPods to get parents to fill out a survey to help their special needs children? That is pretty depressing in itself.
Assistant Polk County School Board Superintendent Nancy Woolcock said that they have been told that “the money has to be used directly for the students and not to the parents.” I hope that does not mean the iPods will now go directly to the children. Of course, it could be worse, they could be using stimulus money for tennis courts.
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