The Cheektowaga Central School District has received a grant of nearly $500,000 that is aimed at improving middle school math instruction and scores.
During its meeting Tuesday night, the School Board approved accepting two years of funding through the Title II Part B Mathematics and Science Partnerships Grant.
“I call for a motion to let the state give us a half a million dollars,” President Brian Gould said before a unanimous “yes” vote.
Assistant Superintendent Mary Morris said the district was one of 16 across the state to receive the funding for math, while 10 others received similar awards for science.
“It’s not usual for a district of our size to get a grant of this magnitude,” she said.
For the application, officials had to choose one building on which to focus, and they selected the middle school, Director of Learning Maureen George said. She added that the goals of the grant are to provide professional development for teachers and administrators, boost math scores and build confidence in teachers to meet the demands of the Common Core standards.
School personnel will work with staff from Erie Community College, Buffalo State College and the state University at Buffalo. UB also will evaluate the district’s progress on meeting goals outlined in the grant application, George said.
During the first year, $333,104 will be distributed to the district, while $164,285 will follow in the second year, Morris said. Superintendent Dennis Kane added that he believes this is the largest competitive grant the district has ever been awarded.
The board also approved a measure to allow district officials to apply for a program that would provide all pupils at Union East Elementary School and the Pine Hill Education Center with free breakfasts and lunches.
The plan takes into account the percentage of those pupils who directly qualify for free and reduced meals, and the two schools – each at 46 percent – meet the criteria. District Treasurer Kaitlyn Tokarczyk said that the program could be enacted at the two schools without affecting the district’s general fund because the rate of state reimbursement would be enough to cover any increase in expenses. More information for parents would follow should the district be approved for the program.
Also during the meeting, high school Guidance Program Co-director Frank Marchese Jr. presented members of the Iraq/Afghanistan Memorial Committee with a check for $5,074. The money was raised May 10 during the district’s Walk for Warriors Project Walk-a-thon. Another $4,800 from the event will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project, which assists injured servicemen and women.
Committee member Joe Ruszala, a 1965 graduate of Cheektowaga Central and a Vietnam veteran, was moved by the final amount. He thanked those who participated for helping to build the memorial, which will be dedicated Sept. 13 in downtown Buffalo.
“You guys had a piece of that,” he said.
The board’s reorganization meeting will be held at 7 p.m. July 1, in the boardroom at Cheektowaga Central High School, 3600 Union Road.