Funds to help fight dropout rate

Published 7:36 am Monday, August 27, 2007

By By Lisa Tindell – news reporter
Brewton City Schools and Escambia County Schools have new money to help combat their dropout rates as the result of a $150,000 grant awarded by the Alabama Department of Education.
The grant came after efforts were initiated by grant writers Donna Revel of the county system and Baxter Baker of the city system.
The grant, Revel said, would mean the addition of staff geared toward changing the statistics for area schools.
Revel said current statistics show 11.3 percent of city high school students will drop out of school, while the rate in the county school system stands at 16 percent. Those dropout rates are taken into consideration by businesses that may be interested in locating in the Brewton area.
The grant is part of two pilot programs initiated by the ASDE. The grant awarded to the Escambia County and Brewton City systems is part of the Preparing Alabama Students for Success program, also known as PASS.
The $150,000 received locally is part of $4.4 million awarded by ASDE to implement the PASS initiative. The program is geared toward students in sixth through twelfth grade who are at risk of school failure. Across the state, 38 sites were awarded funds on a competitive basis to help increase the number of students who successfully complete graduation requirements.
Similarly valued grants were awarded to seven systems statewide that have rising programs ready to implement or expand pending the receipt of the funds. Grants ranged in value from $50,000 to $200,000 based on the existence of programs to prevent dropouts and encourage success already in place within a given system. Those systems receiving the fewest dollars have a need for a dropout program but currently do not have a program in place. Those receiving the most funds are systems that may serve one or more schools and have existing programs in place.
Neighboring Baldwin County received a $200,000 grant for the implementation of a PASS program there.

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