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Lotto win for tech ed
The Glenn County Board of Education could make it easier in the future for school districts to do more with the small amount of lottery funding they receive for career and technical education programs.
The board agreed to entertain requests from school districts to receive up to three years in advance of the annual state lottery money earmarked for programs like welding, construction and cabinetry.
"We've talked about this at ROP," Willows High School Principal Jerry Smith said Tuesday. "I think it provides districts a great opportunity for schools to meet their need for bigger projects."
Jess Modesto, director of the Regional Occupation Program for Glenn County Office of Education, said the demand for career and technical education has educators looking at creative ways to enhance programs.
Glenn County receives about $26,000 a year in lottery money for Carl D. Perkins Act programs for the five high schools.
"Unfortunately, the lottery money isn't enough money for large projects," Modesto said.
Glenn County is one of 73 ROP programs in California.
For more than 30 years, the Glenn County ROP has trained more than 15,000 students in 28 occupational fields in the Willows, Orland, Hamilton City, Stony Creek and Princeton school districts, officials said.
In addition, the Glenn County Office of Education has an adult ROP program that provides an educational environment that prepares students for high skill, high wage or high demand occupations.
Modesto said he expects very little change in lottery funding in the future, which makes the advances relatively risk-free for the Office of Education.
"A larger lump sum would give the schools enough to do something with it," he said.
The Glenn County Board of Education has heard one request from a school district for an advance on its lottery funding.
On Jan. 16, Orland High School Principal Nicole Newman and welding instructor Jerrod Lloyd asked the Board of Education for a $9,300 advance on their lottery funding to purchase safety equipment for the welding class.
The high school recieves about $6,700 annually, Newman said.
Lloyd said the school recently invested in new gas welding stations, new books and curriculum, and that the safety equipment would be a nice addition to the program.
"The school's safety requirements are three times higher than the private sector, based on federal Occupational, Safety and Health Administration standards," he said.
In addition to state and federal funding, Lloyd said the students do their part to raise money for their agriculture and technical programs, including the annual rib feed for FFA, which will be held Saturday at the Glenn County Fairgrounds.
The board said it will likely approve Orland's advance of lottery funding at its February meeting, although some members had reservations about school districts spending their money in advance.
Smith agreed that is the downside to doing large projects with multiple-year funding.
"In this economic climate, it would be tough to find out a couple years down the road that you are short on materials," he said. "It's sort of a Catch 22."
President Judy Holzapfel said the process for schools to take the advance will be similar to a school district seeking a loan, although she wants the board to address requests of this nature with an actually policy.
Glenn County Superintendent of Schools Tracey Quarne is also in favor of the Office of Education advancing school districts up to three years lottery funding to give them the opportunity to invest a larger lump sum into their programs.
Quarne said the ROP program is an investment in the future of Glenn County's youth.
"All the school districts will want to do it at some point in time," he said.
Although the Board of Education said it may put restrictions on the amounts, members said they were not opposed to doing business that way.
"I think it's a wonderful idea," Holzapfel said. "I just want to make sure everything is done correctly."
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