Schools seeing less grant funding
Shrewsbury – As the cost of education continues to rise, Shrewsbury Public Schools are receiving less and less help by way of state and federal grants.
In a presentation before the School Committee Nov. 19, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Joseph Sawyer said that grant funding is down 7 percent overall, and that there have been significant drops to some of the district's largest grants.
Title 1 funding, provided for lower-income students, dropped by 36 percent, from $231,857 to $131,743 for fiscal year 2009.
Funding through the Special Education Entitlement grant and the Teacher Quality grant fell by 2 and 4 percent this year, respectively.
Sawyer said the district is currently receiving roughly the same level of grant funding as it was in 2005, however the cost to educate children is significantly higher than it was three years ago.
"Although helpful, the funding hasn't kept up with costs over time," Sawyer said. "There's less to go around; there are fewer things we can do with the funds, so it's left us with a lot less flexibility."
School Committee members concerned with Sawyer's report questioned if the district might be more successful in obtaining and retaining grant funding if it were to look into hiring a grant coordinator or writer.
Based on the competitive nature of many grants and the rigorous application process that goes along with many grants, Sawyer said he couldn't guarantee that the position would bring in enough additional revenue to justify it.
Sawyer said he expects the district's grant situation to grow increasingly uncertain over time as the state struggles with its own financial unknowns.
"It's very hard to forecast, especially in this upcoming year as the state government goes through the gyrations of figuring out where they're going to cut," he said. "We have no idea how that's going to aff ect us."
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