Poverty increases school funding 4 additional schools to get U.S. aid due to rise in needy children

July 09, 1998|By Kris Antonelli | Kris Antonelli,SUN STAFF

Because an increased number of Anne Arundel County school-age children are living in poverty, four additional elementary schools will qualify this fall for federal funding to hire teachers and buy reading and math enrichment materials.

The county has received an extra $887,934 to put Brooklyn Park, Glendale, Marley and North Glen elementary schools into the Title I program that currently includes 16 elementary schools. This year, Anne Arundel will receive about $6.3 million.

For the first time, according to State Department of Education figures, Anne Arundel County qualified for a "concentration grant," because more than 6,000 children ages 15 to 17 live at or below the poverty line, said Ron Friend, who coordinates Title I at the state level.

A family of four with an income of about $16,000 is considered poor by the U.S. Census.

"There is an increase in poverty in the county," Friend said. "In Anne Arundel, there are 6,678 poor children."

Friend said the federal government determines the poverty level using updated census figures, then distributes money to states and counties.

Local school districts determine which schools get Title I money by ranking them according to how many children are on the free lunch program. In Anne Arundel, a family of four with an income of $21,385 qualifies for free lunch or milk.

During their regular meeting yesterday, school board members reviewed a list of the 20 Title I schools and how the additional money will be spent. A school improvement committee led by the principal at each elementary school determines that.

The four new Title I schools will be getting a reading resource teacher. North Glen Elementary will use some of the money to hire an assistant teacher who will work with the kindergarten teacher to identify struggling students and work with their families during twice-a-month meetings.

Some board members were pleased that the schools are getting extra federal money during a year in which the board cut $9 million in programs and materials the county did not fund.

"This is one of the few good news stories that we have in these budget times," said school board member Vaughn Brown.

"Now we have to think about how we are going to preserve these programs if the federal funding runs out," he said.

Other Title I elementary schools are: Freetown, Georgetown East, Germantown, Harman, Jessup, Maryland City, Mills/Parole, Park, Rolling Knolls, Tyler Heights, Van Bokkelen, Woodside, Annapolis, Eastport, Hillsmere and Meade Heights.

Pub Date: 7/09/98

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