Today’s news:

Sanders praises Obama, doles out $245K to southeast Queens schools

City Councilman James Sanders (D−Laurelton) said he was inspired by President−elect Barack Obama’s pledge to jump−start both the economy and American morale when he allocated nearly a quarter of a million dollars to seven southeast Queens schools Monday.

Sanders held a special event at IS 231 in Springfield Gardens where he spoke to elementary and middle school students about the historical importance of Obama’s administration.

The councilman said he admired the president−elect’s plans to stimulate the economy with job creation and infrastructure improvements and decided to make his own plan to improve his community through education.

“I think we need an educational stimulus package,” he said before giving out a $245,000 check to the students and their school administrators.

The money, which came out of the councilman’s discretionary funds, will be divided among seven schools: PS 15, PS 52, PS 138, PS 181, PS 251, PS 195 and IS 231. Sanders said not many schools in his district have the tools or resources available to properly educate children and teens.

Some of the schools in his area lacked proper kitchens, libraries and even photocopiers, according to the councilman.

Sanders encouraged the students to take advantage of their improved schools because the experience will help them in the future.

“Take your education seriously. An employer isn’t going to be interested in how you did in a computer game, unless you designed it,” the councilman said.

Sanders told the children that it was important to their education to watch Tuesday’s inauguration ceremonies since it will be a major historical moment in America.

“I thought I would never see it in my lifetime,” he said.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e−mail at ipereira@timesledger.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 146.

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