Safe Schools seeks writer

Monday, December 11, 2006

On Thursday, the Putnam County Safe Schools Committee took the first steps at finding another grant writer.

The committee had been working with independent consultant Jennifer Meadows, Montgomery County. However, it agreed in November to discontinue its relationship with Meadows.

"She's got other irons in the fire, and that's OK with us," Committee member Dan Bain said Thursday. Bain was filling in for Committee President Shawn Gobert, who was unable to attend Thursday's meeting.

"If we could get somebody else to tackle this, that would be great," Bain said.

Bain said the committee needed someone on the outside to write up grants, because all committee members had other jobs.

"Nobody (on the committee) has time to pursue these grants," he said.

Committee member Kim Hyten suggested the group look into working with Carol Kramer, who has written grants for the county. In addition, the committee discussed bringing Strategic Development Group out of Bloomington into the fold.

Meadows had been working with the committee after it expressed plans to apply for the Safe Schools/Healthy Students Initiative grant, a program that was formed in 1999 under the Clinton administration.

But in January, the committee learned that the federal government would not be accepting new applications for the $3 million grant this year, leaving the committee to wonder what to do about future grants.

It is not known yet if the government will accept new applications from school corporations this year. However, committee members said they should know by January if new applications will be accepted.

On Thursday, Bain said he would contact Meadows to gather all the information she has collected for the committee.

"We keep discussing it, but if we can get somebody to run with this, I think it will be a good thing," Bain said.

Meanwhile, the committee heard an update regarding a federal grant the Putnam County Youth Development Commission recently received.

On Thursday, PCYDC Executive Director Pam Turner informed the committee the organization had recently received the Juvenile Accountability Block Grant, a grant that would allowed youth to attend anger management classes.

Turner told the remaining 11 committee members Thursday that the first classes were successful.

"We did get a favorable response from parents and the youth," Turner said.

In other news, the board:

-- Discussed recent Parent Education Nights that some of the county school corporations conducted.

Bain said South Putnam recently conducted one, but added it was not well-attended.

"We did not have a good turnout," Bain said. "But the weather was very bad that night."

Bain said Putnam County Prosecutor Tim Bookwalter spoke at the event, talking about methamphetamine use and problems dealing with

"It was beneficial for the people who came," Bain said.

Representatives from North Putnam and Cloverdale also discussed recent parent education events their corporations had as well.

Still, committee members expressed concern on how to get more parents involved. Turner suggested the corporations place handouts in programs at athletic events.

"At least you're getting a message out about a certain topic," she said.

Bain then suggested the four county schools band together and conduct a county-wide education event.

"Maybe that's something we ought to try," he said.

The committee agreed to consider it as a possibility for next school year.

The board meets regularly on the first Thursday at the Miller Education Center. Its next meeting is scheduled for 9:30 a.m., Jan. 4.

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