Public schools in the Commonwealth expect to receive $30 million in total grants from various federal agencies this fiscal year 2013, which starts on Oct. 1.
PSS federal programs officer Tim Thornburgh said this amount is par for the course and is the total federal assistance the system regularly gets for its various programs each year.
The biggest chunk is for the schools' breakfast and lunch meal program, which has a $10 million allocation for the CNMI this school year. This grant is from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Services and provides free meals to public and private school students.
Also included in the regular grant is the consolidated grant from the U.S. Department of Education, which allocated $8.4 million for PSS this new fiscal year.
This grant seeks to help PSS achieve its goals, which include ensuring that students are scoring at the 50th percentile or higher on the SAT 10; that 80 percent of students are reading on or above grade level; and that 90 percent of students are scoring at proficient or above on the standard based assessment by 2014.
Under the $8.4 million consolidated grant, $900,000 is set aside for assessment; the Troops to Teacher program is allocated $749,065; and $6.7 million will be used for public and private school programs and needs.
It was through this grant that PSS was able to fund the salaries of some classroom teachers, career and technical education program, after-school activities, students' laptops, distance education, and professional development workshops in past years.
Also included in the regular grant for PSS is the Special Education program, which is allocated a little over $5 million in 2013. This funding covers the salaries of teachers and specialists and the needs of students with disabilities, among others.
Also funded by the federal government is the PSS' Head Start program, which accommodates 3- to 5-year-old students. This new fiscal year, the program is allocated $2 million, Thornburgh said.
The e-Rate program expects to receive $1.2 million for the maintenance, upgrade, and replacement of schools' networks and technology.
A $1 million grant is also allocated for PSS this new fiscal year for reading.
The rest of the federal grant funds, according to Thornburgh, is a combination of small grants for professional development of personnel, grants for library books and materials, and other school needs.
PSS, in the last two fiscal years, received a significant amount of federal assistance for its various programs and needs through the American Recovery Reinvestment Act, which awarded PSS $32.4 million. This grant ends this month.
Thornburgh said that PSS, as always, will continue to seek new and additional grants for its programs and needs.