D-47 receives grant to combat poverty

CRYSTAL LAKE – Four schools in Crystal Lake District 47 will receive federal funding to combat growing poverty populations.

The district received $534,000, $368,000 of which will be distributed to four schools that qualify for Title I funding. The other $166,000 is earmarked by the federal government for specific programs.

Title I is a federal grant program that provides money for schools with high poverty rates, which is determined by the number of students receiving free or reduced-pricing lunches.

Coventry Elementary School will receive the most money at roughly $112,000 because it has the highest population of students on free and reduced lunches at 51 percent. Canterbury, North and Indian Prairie elementary schools also will receive funding.

Jean Bevevino, assistant superintendent of curriculum, assessment and instruction, said Hannah Beardsley Middle School also qualified but there was not enough money to distribute.

Bevevino said the board also could choose not to fund Title I programs at Indian Prairie because it had a smaller percentage of low-income students at 33 percent, but suggested the $57,000 in Title I funds go there because the school houses special education programs.

“It’s really a way to level the playing field,” Bevevino said of the program. “We don’t know yet, but we will probably receive more funding in the fall.”

The money goes toward programs, supplies and instructors such as math and reading interventionists to give students more resources.

Superintendent Kathy Hinz said in the past, Title I money was used to make part-time assistant principals and literacy instructors full-time positions, but the amount of tax charged for using federal grant money for salaries could make that difficult this year.

She said if Indian Prairie made its assistant principal full-time, it would leave Woods Creek Elementary without an assistant because that position is currently shared between the two schools. With South Elementary already without an assistant principal, board members said they want to do everything possible to maintain those positions.

Board member Nancy Gonsiorek said the board should shift more local money to salaries and use the Title I money for other approved programs or supplies.

“It’s just a matter of doing better with our accounting,” she said.

Board Chairman Jeff Mason said the finance committee would look at ways to maximize the Title I money and shift local dollars to salaries in hopes of keeping assistant principals at as many schools as possible.

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