Grant will help add classrooms at ECLC, but time running out
Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor

July 27, 2005 -- Sulphur Springs Independent School District board members discussed Monday how to proceed regarding a $229,232 Head Start Construction Grant, which the district applied for more than 18 months ago to construct eight new classrooms at Early Childhood Learning Center

When district officials filed for the grant, the district hoped to fund its portion of the $1 million project through last year's $32.5 million bond election. Since voters turned down that proposal, district officials are looking to other sources to fund the project.

One option could be reorganization of existing district finances, with the intent to make monies readily available for the project before grant deadline.

"This is just seed money," said Superintendent Patsy Bolton. "It's a one-time grant, and they give us a certain amount of time to spend it."

Bolton added information is being gathered on how to utilize the funds to best benefit the students.

The original grant proposal called for eight new classrooms to be added to the existing ECLC facility, allowing the 3-year-old Head Start program to move its operations from Beginnings Learning Center and providing extra space for expanding the other classes at ECLC. It would also free up space at Beginnings Learning Center for the special education offices, which were recommended to be moved closer to the main administrative office in an audit two years ago.

The additional class space at ECLC would have been very useful had they been available in the 2004-2005 school year, when 320 students were enrolled in kindergarten. The overflow of students required additional kindergarten sections in classrooms previously occupied by other programs and classes.

So far, summer enrollment of students in kindergarten is not that high, but administrators won't have a more firm grasp of this year's enrollment until after school starts, as a number of parents do not register their children in kindergarten until class starts in the fall and some not until after the Labor Day holiday or later.

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