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$1M in grants goes to area schools

Toyota Wellspring Education Fund
Toyota Wellspring Education Fund
Reported by: Robert Byers
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Updated: 9/12/2013 12:14 pm
PONTOTOC, Miss. (WTVA) - Toyota officials presented $1 million in grant money to educators during a Thursday morning program at Pontotoc Junior High School.
It's part of Toyota's commitment to donate $50 million over a 10-year period to schools in counties represented by the PUL Alliance.

That group was behind the Toyota plant locating in Blue Springs.

Chuck Garrett with the Toyota Wellspring Education Fund said, "What we're able to give to the schools from the Toyota money is the return on investment. We take parts of the return on investment, and today's million dollar grant is part of that."

Also at the program, Toyota presented the fourth annual installment of the $50 million to the newly renamed Toyota Wellspring Education Fund.

The $1 million gift will be used in various ways to enhance education in each of the school systems in the three PUL counties.

In Pontotoc City Schools, for example, iPad devices will go in all elementary and high school classes along with smart board response devices for each student.

Pontotoc Middle School Principal Gwyn Russell said, "The students are very technology savvy. Their world consists of media and interactive games. iPads will allow us to take that instruction a bit further. They'll receive that instruction in a way they're very familiar with."

As for Toyota, company officials at the Blue Springs plant say helping schools is just one part of how their company does business.

Doug Formby with Toyota Mississippi said, "One of our major focuses is on education. That was the intent of the $50 million grant from the very beginning. It's to make sure we could help enchance the good work that's already being done in northeast Mississippi."

The money will be used by schools for other things like buying computers for classrooms, upgrades to internet infrastructure, and tutoring programs.
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