South Range schools consider seeking grants

BEAVER TWP. – The South Range school district is looking at grant funding for projects that promote student achievement and lower spending.

Schools Superintendent Dennis Dunham said the district is currently considering applying for two separate grants through the Straight A Fund, $250 million generated by sources such as the lottery and Race to the Top. He said districts are eligible for up to $5 million for projects that increase student achievement, create a spending reduction in the five-year forecast and utilize a greater share of resources in the classroom.

The two applications include one for South Range by itself which will establish green energy, such as solar or wind, to bolster the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) program. The other is a consortium grant through the county educational service center that will help with the consolidation of services at participating schools.

Both are tentative and the administration is still investigating the best path to proceed, Dunham said. There will be a second round of grants later in the school year if the board decides to wait, he added.

In other business the board approved the five-year forecast presented by Treasurer Jim Phillips, projecting a cash balance of $212,038 this year and a deficit of $570,338 in 2015. Phillips noted that open enrollment will bring in over $450,000 this year and that expenses have been held stable the past couple years, allowing for the positive cash balance in June.

Dunham reminded residents to get out and vote on Nov. 5. The board will have a 4.8-mill, 10-year levy emergency levy on the ballot for general operation expenses.

“It’s an absolute need to maintain and sustain programs we currently have in place,” said. “We have to have the revenue and resources available to improve upon the successes we’ve had in the past.”

Phillips pointed out that if the levy passes, the district will have a projected positive cash balance through 2017. Without the levy, the district will be in deficit spending, he said.