Education grant discussed for Valley Grande

Published 10:37 pm Monday, August 20, 2012

By Sarah Cook

The Selma Times-Journal

VALLEY GRANDE — Children and their quality of education was the main focus at the city of Valley Grande’s council meeting.

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During Monday’s meeting, Mayor Tom Lee discussed the adoption of a mini-grant program that would allocate grants up to $500 for city classrooms.

“They are terribly underfunded,” Lee said. “They are so spread out that their transportation costs alone eat up the bulk of money that could be used for other purposes.”

According to the grant outline, the main goal of the program is to provide classrooms with projects that are innovative and creative, not just to supply children with notebooks and pencils.

Lee said most teachers use all their allocated money, which as of now is $134 per classroom, to cover necessary items like paper, chalk, notebooks and software. Because of this, teachers are left with no money to pursue other learning programs.

“You’re not getting that program that they’d love to put in but they know there’s no money,” Lee said. “It’s just not enough.”

Years ago each teacher was given $500 to supply their classroom, but since the economy dropped, teachers have slowly been losing this money. With this grant money, teachers can pursue those creative programs that will enhance the learning experience, Lee said.

“This is not just to put some money in their hands, this is to try and tell them that somebody actually cares,” Lee said. “This is not supplying money to continue the status quo from last year and the year before. This is for a brand new program that will tremendously enhance the education process for the classroom and the children in there.”

An independent committee of three and one council member will review applications, and the results will be announced Oct. 15.

“All we’re doing is taking tax base from people that live here and live out of here and shop here and putting it back in to the schools to give the kids a better education,” Lee said.