Rural Schools Receive Sparsity Aid Grants

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Jul 16, 2010 No Comments ›› admin

Friday, July 16, 2010

“Small, rural school districts in the 31st Senate District will benefit from an increased investment in Sparsity Aid,” announced State Senator Kathleen Vinehout (D-Alma).  “This popular categorical aid will help maintain the lifeblood of our rural communities – our schools.”

In September the Department of Public Instruction will distribute a total of $14.9 million in Sparsity aid to 123 small, rural schools throughout the state. This is an increase over the previous year Sparsity aid funding of $3.5 million.

“I fought for increased investment in Sparsity aid during deliberations on the 2009-10 State Budget,” said Vinehout.  “The additional funding can be used for purposes determined by the school district such as keeping core educational programs and quality teachers or paying for operational costs schools can’t control such as fuel, power, heating and health care bills.” 

Vinehout worked with former State Superintendent Elizabeth Burmaster and DPI staff to create the Sparsity categorical aid in the 2007-09 State Budget. 

“Senator Kathleen Vinehout’s leadership ensured needed relief for rural school districts struggling with rising costs,” said former State Superintendent Elizabeth Burmaster.  “Sparsity aid will support our public schools districts in their important role of educating students in our rural communities.”

Eligibility criteria for Sparsity Aid includes enrollment no more than 725 students, enrollment density less than 10 students per square mile and at least 20 percent of students qualify for free or reduced-priced school meals.  In the 31st Senate District, eligible school districts will receive a total of $1,296,762.  Those districts include:

Alma                            $76,595

Alma Center                $166,988

Augusta                       $185,292

Blair-Taylor                 $186,700

Cochrane-Fountain City    $186,418

Eleva-Strum                 $177,970

Gilmanton                    $56,320

Independence              $105,036

Pepin Area                   $73,216

Plum City                     $82,227

“Even with the additional dollars, more and more school districts are running into severe financial difficulties,” said Vinehout. “School funding reform remains a priority and I am pleased our current State Superintendent Tony Evers included increased funding for Sparsity aid as part of his school funding reform recommendations.”

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