Grant for Southern preschool to be shifted

LISBON – A state grant targeted for 18 kids to attend preschool in the Southern Local School District will be put toward other schools in Columbiana County.

Carol Bretz, executive director of the Columbiana County Community Action Agency (CAA), said recently the agency was competing with the county’s Educational Service Center for the Southern Local funding, and the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) grant was awarded to the ESC instead.

As a result, the CAA’s $72,000 preschool grant from the ODE will fund 18 children for any other Columbiana County school eligible. The funding is $4,000 per student.

“It is hard to fill Southern Local slots,” Bretz said.

She explained the school district located in Salineville has a “very low population” of less than 1,000 students enrolled in grades K-12.

According to the ODE website, the funding was given to the district’s Head Start program, and an additional $32,000 was awarded to the district’s elementary school.

Bretz said the lower portion of the county has a need for the funding and noted there is a waiting list for programs in East Liverpool.

Funding was also given to East Liverpool, with $112,000 awarded, according to the website.

Southern Local and East Liverpool were the only districts in the county to receive the funding.

The ODE funding was part of the $10 million Early Childhood Education Expansion Grants awarded this month and targeted to help low-income children have access to high-quality preschool education.

The ODE announced the grants will give nearly 2,500 children in the state access to early education. The funding was part of House Bill 59, signed into law by Gov. John Kasich.

Richard A. Ross, state superintendent of public instruction, said in the press release children will attend high-quality preschools where they will get the education and care they need to become well-prepared for kindergarten.

“We know in Ohio that if children are behind when they start school, it’s more likely they will struggle academically in later grades. It’s critical that we prepare every young child for success in school,” he said.

The CAA has not designated which schools will receive the $72,000 funding yet.

In other business, the CAA approved other matters at this month’s board meeting, including:

– Renewal of the ABILA Fund Accounting software support agreement at $6,614 for Oct. 22 through Oct. 14, 2014.

– A $7,500 Bank of America Grant for its Credit Counseling program.

– The Head Start Teaching Strategies software subscription agreement for $5,742 for Oct. 17 through Oct. 16, 2014.

– A Pension Plan audit presented by Rea and Associates, cost $9,000.

– Lighting for the CARTS garage from Jim Santini Builders of Washingtonville, cost $5,000.

The next board meeting was set for noon Nov. 22.