Grant Writers Assist School District with Award
Schools in South Texas are the foundation of the region’s success, with children being educated today to be the drivers of tomorrow’s economy, cultural atmosphere, and local government. At every level, funding is needed to allow schools to function at their fullest. With communities already doing their part to support schools through taxes, but not quite meeting the need, schools can find additional supportive funds through grants. The Educational Research Institute (ERI), a South Texas-based grant-writing organization, helped Donna ISD secure over $500,000 to continue the district’s mission to graduate healthy students prepared for college and the workforce.
According to the 2014-15 Texas Academic Performance Report, Donna ISD has a total of 15,325 students and 2,544 staff members. Based on this same report, Donna ISD’s student demographics include 81.6 percent economically disadvantaged and 79.5 percent at risk. Donna ISD “Met Standard” on the 2014-15 Accountability Rating.
With ERI’s assistance, Donna ISD was awarded two grants: a High-Quality Prekindergarten Grant for $498,471 and a $64,976 Cafeteria Equipment Assistance Grant. The High-Quality Prekindergarten Grant provides supplemental funding to enhance existing prekindergarten programs in addition to the half-day Foundation School Program (FSP) funding that is already received for each eligible four-year-old prekindergarten student. The grant program focuses on certain enhanced quality standards related to curriculum, teacher qualifications, academic performance, and family engagement. The funding is only being used to improve the quality of the district’s existing prekindergarten program.
The Cafeteria Equipment Assistance Grant provides the district with new cafeteria equipment, including holding hot and cold foods and improved serving lines. These items replaced existing equipment that was more than 10 years old and helped the campuses be more energy efficient.
Teamwork for Success
ERI has been successful in securing $9.9 million in grant funding for Donna ISD since 2008. This includes a total of 21 grants. The process to complete a state grant typically takes 30 to 45 days from the date the grant is announced until it is due to the funding agency. This process starts with a formal agreement between ERI and the district followed by a district and/or campus needs assessment conducted by the ERI staff. Once the needs assessment is completed, the ERI staff is able to produce a grant proposal to address the needs of the district and/or campus. The needs assessment process usually takes two to three weeks from start to finish.
The ERI team has helped many schools and other organizations that have identified a funding source that they would like to apply for. Interested groups should contact the ERI office at (956) 365-4100 or learn more at www.erigrants.com.