To the editor:
In preparation for the election, and in the hopes of earning your vote, I have researched some grants the current Board will utilize as well as grants that would be available to us in the future.
A committee devoted to seeking outside funding may be the next step to improving the educational experience. I have begun to research what is available and, with your support, I look forward to leveraging these grants for the benefit of us all. Here is what my research has revealed:
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act: our Board of Education has applied for federal funding which will pay for upgrading the training our special education teachers in reading support.
The Foreign Language Assistance Program. This program provides for improvement of foreign language instruction in languages considered critical to national security. Chinese is a qualifying language.
The National Security Language Initiative-Youth supports immersion programs for high school students in 550 countries where these critical languages are spoken.
The National Science Foundation’s Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers provides funding for the educational development of K-12 students and their teachers.
The National Gardening Association presents awards worth up to $500 to school districts planning to garden with at least 15 students between the ages of 3 and 18.
Greenleaf Gardens, a member of the U.S. Partnership for Education of Sustainable Development, has already established the Scarsdale Organic Community Garden here in Westchester; we could approach them for support.
Seeds for Education would provide grant monies for the establishment of outdoor learning centers. 26 states have participated in this program.
IBM Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs’ TryEngineering.org website provides access to science museums worldwide. It is also a resource for lesson plans, experiments and a place to find a mentor in the engineering profession.
Nike’s Bowerman Track Program provides matching cash grants up to $50,000 for refurbishment or construction of running tracks. So far, 20 track projects have been funded, using Nike Grind surfaces consisting of 75,000 recycled athletic running shoes.
The New York State Power Authority can help out the district’s sustainability initiative with the Solar Electric Incentive Program. Customers who use eligible installers and qualified systems can get back 40-45% of the installed cost of solar photovoltaic cells. Their School Power…Naturally program provides $24,000 in solar energy data collection systems to schools, as well as curricular materials on sustainable energy.
Earthday.net has a downloadable School Energy Audit program students can use to examine and track energy use in their schools. This is a great forum to explore building design, engineering and sustainability in an environment the students are familiar with—and may offer the district an opportunity to cut energy costs as well.
The economic situation here in New York State is not going to improve quickly. As an independent researcher I was able to locate what resources may be available to us in the future. As a Board of Ed member I will be in a position to call for the formation of a budget oversight committee made up of community members with financial expertise as well as staff members from the district.
This type of open governance is how the school board was meant to function. This is an area of democracy is where the opinions of citizens truly have real and lasting impact. I continue to welcome your questions and input.
— Lisa Cohen, firstname.lastname@example.org, Croton on Hudson