Steve Grantitz / WireImage 1 / 3
Steve Grantitz / WireImage 1 / 3

ATLANTA (AP) -- A private middle school in inner-city Atlanta has received $1.5 million from Oprah Winfrey.

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The Ron Clark Academy announced the donation Thursday. The innovative school has struggled to raise money this year amid the sagging economy to pay for its $2.8 million operating budget, which is bankrolled almost entirely by donors.

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The school in one of the city's poorest neighborhoods is hoping to expand its campus by building a cafeteria, gymnasium and theater. Winfrey, who has had school founder Ron Clark on her show twice, donated $365,000 to the school last December. Clark wrote the best-selling teaching book "The Essential 55."

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