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Programs for students being created with grant

July 17, 2002|by LAURA ERNDE

laurae@herald-mail.com

Four programs designed to keep Washington County students in school and out of trouble will be created with a new state grant.

The Washington County Commissioners awarded more than $700,000 to various community agencies on Tuesday, contingent on approval by the state and the Washington County Community Partnership for Children and Families.

The community partnership made recommendations to the commissioners based on the proposals it received for spending the grant of nearly $900,000 from the Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention.

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The Washington County Department of Social Services will get $278,860 over the next 41/2 years to help reduce the dropout rate and prevent substance abuse and juvenile crime. The agency plans to place a full-time staff person at Northern Middle School to work with sixth- and seventh-graders and their parents.

The community partnership had recommended giving the contract to a Rockville, Md., company whose proposal was $3,000 less.

But Commissioner Paul Swartz argued that the local agency would be more responsive. Commissioner Bert Iseminger added that social services is more familiar with the community and its problems than the other bidder, Mid Atlantic Key Program Inc.

Stephanie Stone, acting director of the community partnership, said she did not have a problem with the commissioners' decision.

The Washington County Health Department will receive $204,202 per year plus $8,935 in start-up costs to bring substance abuse education into three middle schools and 13 elementary schools.

"What they're hoping is they can get to these kids before they get into substance abuse," Stone said.

The Mental Health Center of Hagerstown will get $97,997 per year for three new positions at the Alternative High School, which serves students whose disruptive behavior interferes with education in a traditional school.

The new employees will provide services for substance abuse and addiction, behavior modification and specialized academic instruction.

The City of Hagerstown and the Hagerstown Area Police Athletic League Inc. will get $179,167 over the next 41/2 years to assign a full-time officer to the league's clubhouse at Fairgrounds Park.

That will allow the clubhouse, now staffed by volunteers, to post regular hours for its after-school and mentoring programs.

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