Are Government Grants for Schools the Answer to Budget Problems?

bookFunding in all grades in district school systems has been decreasing on a regular basis. Parents and educators have had to band together to find creative solutions to paying for things that everyone once took for granted. There isn’t even enough money to pay for copy paper at many schools. That is why government grants for schools and private grants have become so popular. They fill a need that was created by reduced budgets.

Classroom Grants

It can be very frustrating for a teacher to have a great lesson idea but not be able to implement it due to the cost of materials. Toshiba America Foundation sponsors a grant program for elementary school teachers. A short application can provide $1000 for math or science instructional supplies that would be difficult to pay for any other way.  Applications are only accepted on line and must be completed by October 1st of each year.

Schools around the country struggle with the issue of financing arts education programs each year. They are usually the first to be eliminated during budget cuts. There are government grants for schools that target the problem. Arts in Education- Professional Development for Arts Educators supports teacher training in the arts so that they can provide new and innovative techniques in the classroom. It is open to staff of public schools K-12 in districts with high poverty.

Niche Grants

Each year four schools can receive a grant from the Herb Society of America to develop windowsill herb gardens. All educational materials will be provided by the Herb Society of America along with three windowsill herb garden kits. Kits include seeds, soil, and pots. The grant is open to both public and private schools that teach grades 3-6 as long as there are a minimum of 15 students in the class. Grants have a value of $200.

The Air Force Association Educator Grant is an example of one of the government grants for schools that targets a niche need. Grant awards are up to $250 and open to teachers across the country. Teachers should have a project that makes a significant learning difference that needs funding in order to apply. There are many applicants for this competitive grant which must tie in with the mission of the Air Force Association. Grants are awarded each January.

Childhood obesity has become a national epidemic. There are government grants for schools to help fight the crisis as well as private grants from companies who are concerned about the problem. The National Association for Sports and Physical Education (NASPE) is working with ING for the Run for Something Better Grant which encourages children’s health through exercise. The purpose is to achieve better habits to fight obesity and encourage the overall well-being of all children. At least 50 grants worth up to $2500 will be awarded to schools that serve students K-8.

As research continues to prove the danger of the sun’s harmful rays without protection, The American Academy of Dermatology’s (AAD) Shade Structure Grant Program has found a unique way to handle the problem in schools. The AAD funds permanent shade structures on playgrounds or other recreational spaces. The value of each grant is a maximum of $8000, including installation. Schools that receive the grant have the benefit of knowing there children are protected even during recreational time.

As difficult as it is to fund classroom materials, it is even harder to find money for outdoor improvements. Lowe’s Toolbox for Education Grants is worth $5000 to more than 1,000 schools interested in landscaping and facility enhancement projects. The grant is open to all public K-12 schools. The deadline is February 15 of each year.

The country has become much more conscious of the energy crisis in the past few years. With that awareness programs to help change the way we rely on certain forms of energy have begun. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009 created funding for with government grants for school districts to begin using renewable energy.

Federal Programs

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 funded school district projects. One way the money was used by many school districts was with renewable energy interventions. One of the latest government grants for schools programs is based on this concept. States have been taking advantage of the program in different ways.

  • Illinois 

The Illinois School Energy Efficient Grant Program provides money for school improvements that use alternative energy. Windows, doors, and solar panels are all included in the program. A booklet in PDF form is available on the website which explains the program and application process. The budget is $9 million to be spread among various school districts. The maximum each district can receive is $225,000.

  • Kansas

The State of Kansas has created The Kansas Green School Program. The program provides funds for many environmental issues that can be handled with renewable energy interventions.

  • Washington 

The Bonneville Education Grant Program funds Solar4Schools. Small-scale photovoltaic systems can be installed at K-12 schools in the state of Washington. Schools must maintain and implement an educational program for public outreach in order to be part of the program.

Government grants for schools and private grants for schools are essential to make up for the deficit in school funding. Parents, administrators, and all educators must apply for all programs that can serve their schools.

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