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Funds sought for after-school programs

January 06, 2009|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- Washington County Public Schools officials are again seeking grant funding to pay for after-school programs at the district's eight Title 1 elementary schools, which serve a high percentage of students from low-income families.

Those schools receive some federal money and for the past two years, Washington County Public Schools has used some grant money -- matched by federal dollars -- to provide 21st Century Community Learning Centers.

The after-school programs at Bester, Eastern, Fountaindale, Hickory, Lincolnshire, Pangborn, Salem Avenue and Winter Street elementary schools add about 2 1/2 hours to the school day for students who participate, said Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Instruction Michael Markoe. Students receive additional support in reading and math and other enrichment activities, including music education and technology assistance.

The school system is requesting about $300,000 in grant funding to continue the program. About $250,000 has typically been received in Title 1 funding as well, Markoe said.

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The majority of those funds -- $404,760 -- would pay for teacher salaries this year, according to data presented Tuesday to the Washington County Board of Education. Additional money is spent on student transportation, supplies and other items.

Enrollment at each school varies from 29 students at Fountaindale Elementary to 60 students at Bester and Pangborn elementary schools, according to data presented Tuesday.

Markoe said the after-school programs are valuable and contribute to students' overall achievement.

He said officials should learn soon if they will receive the grant funding. If it is denied, the school system would need to provide $250,000 in order to maintain the program as it is. However, Markoe said a "quality program" could still be provided using only the Title 1 funding.

"It's providing an opportunity for many students who may have struggles in the classroom or are not going home to a safe environment every day," he said.

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