Funds Redirected From Truancy Program For School Supplies

By Andrea Shiell, County Times

HOLLYWOOD, Md. (Aug. 14, 2008)—Schools in St. Mary’s County will be receiving added stocks of supplies for their students this year, as $27,000 in grant money from the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention (GOCCP) was recently moved from truancy prevention programs for Great Mills High School to buy school supplies for county students.

“The grant money was originally for the truancy grant for Great Mills High School,” explained Stephanie Figeroux, Senior Office Specialist for the county’s Division of Community Services. “The GOCCP issued a grant in the amount of $53,000, and the purpose of the grant was to improve school attendance.”

“It turned out to be a one-year grant, due to reduced federal funding,” said Bennett Connelly, the Director for the County’s Department of Human Services.

Figeroux said that the grant started late this year, too, and the GOCCP decided to use the as-yet unallocated funds to purchase school supplies for students, to be distributed by the public school system. “We found out in the beginning of August that we had until mid-month before the money was de-obligated,” she explained, adding that they used the school lists from Esperanza Middle School and Leonardtown Elementary School as a basis for their stock of items, since these lists comprise the basics for nearly every other school in the county. Items such as pencils, folders, notebooks, highlighters, crayons, tissues, and glue sticks will be made available to students who were lacking important items.

Bennett and Figeroux confirmed that the grant money would need to be used within the next week before the grant closes at the end of August. Bennett said that the supplies will be allocated on a school-by-school basis.

When asked how many backpacks could be filled with $27,000, Bennett laughed and said, “quite a lot…$27,000 buys a lot of school supplies.”

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