Columbia – In January 2015, school districts will receive an invitation to apply for the SC Community Block Grants for Education Pilot Program, a matching grants program designed to encourage sustainable partnerships among South Carolina school districts and community groups. Proviso 1.94 of the 2014-15 General Appropriation Act created the program, which is focused on “state of-the-art education initiatives and models to improve students learning.”
“When there is community support of school initiatives, you often see a positive impact on student motivation and learning,” said Dr. Allison Jacques, Assistant Dean for Assessment at the University of South Carolina School of Education and chair of the seven-member grants committee that will review submitted applications. “We hope to be able share many innovative ideas following the grant awards, particularly in high-poverty communities where it can be difficult to find community support.”
Jacques stated that applications will be sent to school district contacts on January 5. The deadline will be February 13. Grant applications, which must include matching financial support, cannot exceed $250,000 unless the grants committee finds that exceptional circumstances warrant exceeding that amount. However, the budget proviso allocated $1 million for the program, allowing the grants committee to award multiple grants if they choose to do so. It is expected that funded grants will be announced in late March.
Per Proviso 1.94, the Executive Director of the Education Oversight Committee is charged with appointing the grants review committee as well as reviewing and reporting on the results of the funded programs. The grants review committee, which is an independent group of representatives from the business and education committee, makes the final decision on grant recipients.
The SC Education Oversight Committee is an independent, non-partisan group made up of 18 educators, business persons, and elected leaders. Created in 1998, the committee is dedicated to reporting facts, measuring change, and promoting progress within South Carolina’s education system