Gov. Haley Barbour has signed the Mississippi School District Emergency Bridge Loan Act, which may be seeded with bond proceeds.

The law establishes a loan program administered by the state Department of Education to assist local districts hurt by the economic downturn. In addition to bonds, the act provides for the loan program to access appropriations from other sources, grants, gifts, and donations.

To qualify for a below-market interest rate loan, schools must demonstrate that they will have a projected revenue loss equal to or exceeding one-third of the revenue collected in the preceding fiscal year. Districts receiving loans must establish a dedicated source of revenue for repayment.

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