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PAL plans to seek government grant

July 25, 2003|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

The Hagerstown Area Police Athletic League plans to apply for a $40,000 one-year government grant for an after-school program, even though the grant is being rebid because Washington County recently canceled its program with PAL, citing problems with the program.

PAL will modify its plans for the program to address the concerns that led to the grant's cancellation by the Washington County Community Partnership for Children and Families, Hagerstown Administrative Services Director John Budesky said Thursday.

Carolyn Brooks, head of CSAFE, formerly known as the HotSpot Communities Initiative, said Thursday she has not decided if she, too, will apply for the Community Partnership grant to help fund after-school programs.

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The HotSpot program, which operated in Hagerstown for more than five years, now is known as Cooperative Supervision and Focused Enforcement.

Brooks, a member of the Community Partnership's board, said she would abstain from voting on her project if she applies for the grant.

Community Partnership was set up to manage and administer county grants dealing with children and families.

The deadline to apply for the grant is Aug. 26.

The Washington County Commissioners on Tuesday decided not to renew a $40,000 grant for PAL, despite pleas from Budesky and the Hagerstown City Council to resume funding the program.

The County Commissioners voted 3-2 to rebid the state grant and make the money available to other agencies.

The grant money paid the salary of Hagerstown Police Officer Brett McKoy, who served as PAL's full-time coordinator. McKoy took over those duties in September 2002.

Budesky said the city will look for other possible funding sources for the PAL program.

Community Partnership Director Stephanie Stone said among PAL's problems, it didn't start in a timely manner, didn't attract enough kids, wasn't open enough hours and didn't provide the required number of character education and alcohol and tobacco education sessions.

Brooks told both the Washington County Commissioners and the Hagerstown City Council that a state budget cut left her program without $90,000 to pay for programs at Winter Street, Bester, Eastern and Fountaindale elementary schools.

The commissioners voted to give Brooks $45,000, as she requested, but the council only approved funding of $17,000.

Brooks said Thursday she is deciding where to look for additional funding.

Brooks has said the two after-school programs are different and a comparison can lead to confusion.

The PAL program is on-site at its headquarters at Fairgrounds Park, while the HotSpot program is at four community schools, she said.

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