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The Journal Gazette

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Tuesday, October 23, 2018 1:00 am

FWCS receives federal funding

$36 million distributed over 7 years

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

Fort Wayne Community Schools has new federal dollars to spend – $36,352,240, to be exact.

The school board Monday unanimously approved two U.S. Department of Education grants – one for about $15 million distributed over five years and another for about $21 million spread over seven years – targeting magnet schools and college and career readiness, respectively.

The district seeks federal grants to support efforts otherwise unaffordable in the regular budget, Superintendent Wendy Robinson said after the meeting, which also included approval of the 2019 budget.

District officials have said the more than $300 million spending plan should result in minimal change in property taxes paid to FWCS – about $8 more than last year for owners of a $100,000 home with the homestead exemption.

Details about how the federal grants will be spent haven't been finalized, Robinson said, but plans include professional learning for teachers.

Goals for each grant were included in agenda documents.

The Magnet School Assistance Program grant initially provides for STEM/STEAM enhancements at Irwin Elementary, Whitney Young Early Childhood, Weisser Park Elementary, Memorial Park Middle and South Side High schools, with the possibility of benefiting other schools later.

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math; STEAM includes art.

Goals are to increase racial and socioeconomic diversity in segregated schools; increase academic performance in underserved schools; and create and sustain magnet schools that expand academic choices.

The Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs grant initially serves sixth- and seventh-graders attending 10 low-income middle schools.

Improving high school graduation rates and participation in post-secondary education are among the targets.

In other business, the board approved the appointment of project architects and engineers for 10 projects in 2019, including roof replacements, electrical work, masonry repairs and bleacher replacement at Wayne High School.

Viridian Architectural Design Inc. was approved for a secure vestibule project comprising South Side High, Northwood Middle, Kekionga Middle, Towles Intermediate and Abbett Elementary schools. The estimated construction budget is $300,000, with a design contract fee of $30,000.