The city’s school district has hired a grant writing firm for $100,000 to aggressively go after available grants.
School officials hired Clifton-based Bruno & Associates last week. Acting superintendent Eileen Shafer on Wednesday told school board members she is hoping to secure grant funding for electronic devices and after-school programs.
“There’s opportunities out there,” said Shafer on Thursday. “I want to take advantage of them.” There are grant funding available for science, technology, and art programs. “Because funding is so tight, I needed to be able to get those things that are needed.”
Longtime school board member Jonathan Hodges has urged the district to hire a full-time grant writer for some time. Many school board candidates also told voters last month they would favor hiring a grant writer to target not only government funding sources, but also private money from large corporations.
“I’m told there’s grant money out there. If we’re spending $100,000, I want to see millions coming in,” said Hodges. He often complains about the state’s “illegal” underfunding of the city’s school district which has prevented local schools from implementing programs to boost academic performance.
School officials did not have an estimate as to how much money they hope to secure from grants.
The district had a part-time grant writer some years ago. “We lost so many people that we could not sustain a grant writer,” said Shafer. Indeed, over the years, due to state underfunding and continued expansion of charter schools, the district has had to cut hundreds of employees.
Shafer wants to expand academic offerings for students. For example, she instituted a Saturday program and wants to offer after-school programs that provide homework assistance and other services for students.
School board members approved the grant writing service contract without opposition on Wednesday night.