BOE approves grant writer position

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Reg-16-Office

REGION 16 — The Board of Education has created a new position for the school district in the hopes that a monetary windfall will follow.

During its May 8 meeting, the board unanimously approved a grant writer position for the district.

“I see this as a no-lose for the Board of Education and a win-win for the students, staff and our communities,” said Tim James, superintendent of schools for Region 16, which oversees schools in Beacon Falls and Prospect.

The position will research, develop, write and submit grant proposals in order to secure funds to improve and enhance school programs. The position will work hand-in-hand with teachers and faculty to pinpoint what grants will best serve the district then oversee the process of applying for and implementing the grant.

What makes the position a “no-lose” in James’ mind is that the position will not receive any compensation from the district and it will not impact the budget. Rather, the way the position is designed, the grant writer will receive 5 percent of any grant he or she secures for the district.

“They’re going to be motivated to find more grants if they want to have additional compensation,” said James, who first brought up the position early this year before taking a medical leave of absence.

In a subsequent interview, James explained the vast majority of grants the district currently receives are entitlement grants from the government, such as Title I grants, which are funds to help school districts pay for programs for low-income students.

James said the money districts receive from entitlement grants are based on formulas. The grants the new position will be seeking are competitive grants that are given mostly by private foundations, he said.

James said there are a variety of grants available for school districts. He said the district could partner with local universities and colleges or other districts on programs.

“The possibilities are endless of what you can do,” James said.

During the May 8 meeting, board member Nazih Noujaim expressed concerns that there may be grants that exclude school districts from applying if the grant writer receives a portion of the funding.

“I just want to make sure we don’t lose out on any grants,” Noujaim said.

Noujaim also questioned what would happen if the board wants to get rid of the position in the future.

James said he was not aware of any grants that exclude applications if the grant writer gets part of the money. He said usually grants include and cover administration fees.

As far Noujaim’s second question, James said the contract will include language that covers what would happen if it’s decided to end the position or contract.

The district is accepting applications for the position through June 5 and plans to interview candidates June 10.