FRYEBURG SCHOOL DIST. WON’T GET GRANT $$$ DUE TO INCORRECT WORDING

by Christian Mower on June 1, 2012

THE SUPT. OF SCHOOLS IN MSAD 72 IN FRYEBURG, MAINE – THAT INCLUDES STUDENTS FROM FRYEBURG, DENMARK, LOVELL, BROWNFIELD, SWEDEN, STONEHAM AND STOW – SAYS HE’S DISAPPOINTED AFTER LEARNING HIS DISTRICT WILL NOT GET A GRANT OF $150,000 THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN USED TO EXTEND AFTER SCHOOL AND SUMMER PROGRAMS TO MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS.

GARY MACDONALD SAYS HE WAS NOTIFIED BY THE MAINE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION IN MAY, 2012 THE MONEY WOULD NOT BE AWARDED AS PROMISED BECAUSE THE DEPARTMENT HAD USED INCORRECTLY WORDED DOCUMENTS IN THE GRANT PROCESS.

MACDONALD’S DISTRICT IS ONE OF FOUR – OTHERS ARE IN AUBURN, BIDDEFORD AND PORTLAND – THAT WILL NOT GET GRANT MONEY BECAUSE OF AN APPEAL OF THE AWARDS, BUT ALL FOUR DISTRICTS ARE ELIGIBLE TO RE-APPLY THIS SUMMER.

LAURA RIGGS-MITCHELL HEADS THE PEQUAWKET KIDS ASSOCIATION THAT PROVIDES AFTERSCHOOL AND SUMMER PROGRAMS FOR ABOUT 185 MSAD 72 ELEMENTARY SCHOOL STUDENTS. SHE SAYS THE AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAMS PROVIDE FUN ACTIVITIES THAT EXPAND ON SUBJECTS THAT ARE TAUGHT IN CLASS.

MACDONALD SAYS SPECIFIC PLANNING WAS UNDERWAY TO OFFER THE PROGRAM THIS SUMMER TO STUDENTS AT MOLLY OCKETT MIDDLE SCHOOL IN FRYEBURG, WITH THE GRANT FUNDING THE PROGRAM FOR FIVE YEARS. RIGGS-MITCHELL SAYS INCLUDING THE NEARLY 270 6TH THROUGH 8TH GRADE STUDENTS AT MOLLY OCKETT WOULD HAVE MORE THAN DOUBLED THE SIZE OF THE PROGRAM.
SHE SAYS IT WAS “DEVASTATING” TO HEAR THE MONEY WOULD NOT BE COMING, BUT SHE REMAINS OPTIMISTIC ABOUT THE POTENTIAL EXPANSION OF THE PROGRAM, THAT INCLUDES THE SO-CALLED “STEM” FIELDS OF SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING AND MATH.

MACDONALD SAYS HIS DISTRICT WILL RE-APPLY THIS SUMMER AND SAYS NO FUNDS WERE LOST – AND NO CHILDREN PARTICIPATING IN EXISTING PROGRAMS HAVE BEEN AFFECTED – BY THE STATE’S DECISION NOT TO AWARD THE GRANT MONEY.