Encouraging Community Involvement
The Grenada School District has confronted the problem of decreasing funds in the initial days of budget reductions, a proactive stance that has enabled us to weather this storm and progress in spite of these difficulties. Appropriate reductions in staff, effective staff job allocations, pursuit of grant funding, and Partners in Education initiatives have been facets of our overall improvement plan.
Local funding has not been cut, but neither has local millage been raised. A struggling local economy has not allowed local taxes to increase and compensate for State and national reductions. Our populace has been kept informed of budget restraints, with open meetings in which community input was considered and compensation strategies were defined.
State budget cuts have made appropriate planning and reorganization an imperative for Grenada that we have met aggressively. An innovative organizational behavior-based energy stewardship and management program has been initiated to conserve and more effectively use our existing resources. As we pursue other sources of funding, we continue to educate our populace about the need to inform legislators about educational necessities. Links to legislative updates are posted visibly on our website and teachers are apprised of upcoming financial issues.
Cuts from the national level of federal funding resulted in reductions in staff and forced increases in the sizes of some classes. However,
the addition of AmeriCorps grant funding has assisted with increases in staff and enabled one-on-one and group tutoring. The Career Readiness 101 Grant has helped to fill in vocational gaps in offsetting some of the costs of materials. The 21st Century Grant has provided after-school tutoring and career education skills adding services for our students.
Our grant initiatives, with community donations and support, have compensated for many of the budget losses. Our Partners in Education, consisting of local businesses, literacy groups, parent organizations, churches, industries, and civic clubs, have served as student mentors, Round Table and steering committee members, a vehicle for student and teacher incentives, and a medium for pursuing funding, enabling grant awards of over 3 million dollars.
Our community stakeholders have been involved in our planning processes, especially improving student achievement in spite of budget cuts. The Superintendent’s Community Round Table, comprised of our County’s citizens, has functioned as a liaison to disseminate information. They served a vital role in the recent SACS evaluation in which our District was fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and School, a benchmark of educational excellence.
Addressing the problematic issue of budgets cuts with determination, innovation, and immediacy has served to preserve and construct additional effective infrastructures. Our students have progressed academically, our community has supported our efforts, and Grenada School District is poised for further achievement.