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By David Knopf/Richmond News
If it could, Richmond Public Schools would fund all its equipment and building purchases through a grant program business education teacher Robbin Cole explained for the school board on Tuesday.
For several years, Cole has applied for and received funds through the Vocational-Technical Education Enhancement Grant Award. The program provides 75 percent of the funding for equipment purchases, with the school district contributing 25 percent.
Cole said the grants have provided at least $500,000 toward the purchase of hardware – things like computers, Smart boards, scanners, camcorders, printers etc. – for both the RHS business education and agriculture programs.
“This will be the fourth grant that I have applied for,” Cole said in an email that followed up on the presentation she and Principal John Parker made to the board. “The ag department has also applied for and received monies for the purchase of laptops, Smart boards, projectors, document cameras, digital cameras, etc.”
A school program has to be certified under Vocational-Technical Education requirements in order to qualify for the grants. Cole said both her department and Richmond’s ag program are qualified and have taken advantage of the grants.
Cole’s most recent grant application was for $136,000. Tuesday, she and Parker asked the board to give its blessing to a new grant proposal. Cole and Parker said the process is time-consuming and they wanted the board’s backing before beginning work. The application is due in February.
“Based on 25 cents on the dollar, it doesn’t make any sense not to apply for as much as you can get,” board member Jon Thoreson said.
Cole said she’d return to the February board meeting with specifics on what she hopes to include in her application wish list.