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Federal money being used for school supplies

August 16, 2009|By DAN DEARTH

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- The Washington County Public Schools system will use federal money to pay the bulk of the cost of school supplies for students in six Washington County elementary schools.

Michael Markoe, assistant superintendent for elementary education for Washington County Public Schools, said the money is being allocated to help families who are struggling in today's sluggish economy.

"This is the first year we've done this for the (school) supplies," Markoe said. "We felt it would help our parents in areas with the highest socioeconomic needs."

The six elementary schools are Bester, Eastern, Hickory, Lincolnshire, Salem Avenue and Winter Street.

Markoe said $69,589 will be used to purchase the school supplies for about 2,900 students. He said the money primarily will come from the Title 1 program, not the Federal Recovery Act.

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Title 1 was created in the 1960s to improve the "academic achievement of the disadvantaged," according to the U.S. Department of Education.

Parents who can't afford to buy school supplies may visit the principal of their child's school and ask for help, said Kristi Bachtell, principal of Bester Elementary.

If parents have a legitimate financial need, they often are given a ticket and sent to Children in Need Inc., an organization that provides, among other things, clothes and school supplies to children from economically challenged families.

"We have had a flood of calls about the school supplies," Bachtell said. "Many parents are very appreciative."

Markoe said the school system is eager to work with families in need.

"We will seek additional resources to help those families," Markoe said. "It's our goal that when kids come to school, they don't have to worry about having the right things."

Kerry Rowe, Title 1 supervisor for Washington County Public Schools, said members of the Parent Teacher Association and organizations like local churches also help buy school supplies.

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