Programs for struggling students get federal dollars
June 27, 2012
By Sebastian Moraga
Federal money for Title I programs, focused on helping disadvantaged students, will increase this year, giving an unexpected boost from the government to the Snoqualmie Valley School District.
At the district, however, no one is taking victory laps just yet.
For starters, the money can go to specific things like programs for special education, low-achieving students, and non-native speaking students. Second, it’s federal money and that rarely comes without complications.
“There was an increase this year. We could have a reduction again next year,” said Nancy Meeks, special- education director for the district.
Meeks added that programs were operating on reduced federal monies for two years until this year’s sudden largesse.
Meeks addressed the skepticism of some who have marveled at how, less than a month before the district had to approve a new budget, new money appeared as if from nowhere.
“It’s not finding money,” Meeks said. “It’s money we get in a grant. There are strict ways the money is allocated. It doesn’t go into the general fund and it can go away next year.”
Furthermore, sometimes the federal government reduces funds mid-year.
Last year, the district received $150,000. This year, it will receive $400,000.
“I called them back twice to make sure” the number was right, Meeks said.
It was. Still, the district is taking 10 percent off the top and saving it, to deal with any possible mid-year surprises, Meeks said.
“That’s always the blessing and the curse with federal dollars,” she said. “They offer opportunities but they come with heavy restrictions.”
She added, “That’s what people don’t understand. They go, ‘Hey, it’s money! We can use it for whatever we want.’ No you can’t.”
In other school news, deadlines inch ever closer for the school district. The deadline to apply for a part-time bus-driver job in the fall is June 29. The deadline to apply for a spot in summer school for grades kindergarten through eight, is the same day.
Scholarships for students suffering financial hardships are available, according to the school’s website.
Apply or register at www.svsd410.org.