For some reason, the article below struck a chord with me. A couple of Niagara Falls Schools that were underperforming have turned things around, thanks in part to some grant money from the state to run a successful after school program. But now that the schools are performing better, the State Education Department has cut off the funds.
So, we'll pay to help you turn things around and when are funds are actually doing some good, we'll cut you off so all the positive gain can be lost? I know there are a lot of need in the state and money is tight, but here's an idea....take money away from the myriad of programs that are failures and support those that are working. Just a thought.
The full article:
Improving schools not eligible for grant
By Paul Westmoore - NEWS NIAGARA BUREAUUpdated: 05/30/08 7:03 AM
NIAGARA FALLS — Because La- Salle and Gaskill preparatory pupils are doing so well academically, the state has denied the Niagara Falls School District the money to run a program that played a role in placing them in good standing.
The state Education Department on Wednesday turned down the district’s application for a grant to fund its “After School Program,” which provides Gaskill and LaSalle pupils the chance to remain in school for 2z hours after dismissal to receive academic assistance, participate in supervised activities and have nutritious snacks before being bused home by 5:30 p. m.
Superintendent Carmen A. Granto broached the subject at Thursday’s School Board meeting when Board Vice President Don J. King said he was proud to see seven city schools last week were named “high-performing, gap-closing schools” by the state Education Department. That means their pupils, even special education and economically deprived pupils, are performing up to state standards.
“Our schools were recognized for outstanding achievement” Granto said. “But that designation comes as a mixed blessing. Because of that success, we were not approved for a 21st Century [After School] grant. That’s because the state’s highest priority this year in awarding those grants is to schools in need of improvement, and we don’t fall into that category anymore. We got the money when we needed improvement. But now that we’re improved, the money is not going to be there any more.”
Ross said the original four-year After School Grant amounted to $600,000 a year.
“It’s a shame because the program really helped out a lot of kids who needed the attention after school,” Granto said.
But Granto said the district will not give up on the program since it has contributed significantly to the success of the district’s seventh and eighth graders.
He said he has already contacted the area’s three state legislators and asked them to help work out a program like the state did with the charter schools in that “once you’re successful, the state phases you out of the program slowly so you have time to build up the local money to keep the program going. They said they would support the idea.”
“I told them we understood going in that once you succeeded you’re not the highest priority any more when it comes to these funds,” Granto said, but he noted he did not want his seventh- and eighth-graders falling backward academically without the extra boost they received from the program.