Community Connect receives 2009/10 funding
By Robin Scott
Sylvia Renick addressed the Board of Trustees at the regular meeting of the board held July 21st. She made a request for continued funding for the Community Connect community education program. She updated the board on the program’s successes in the past year and her expectations for the coming year.
Renick stated that the program offered a GED course in its first year and now offers two. She also noted that the ESL (English as a Second Language) course has grown in popularity.
The city’s Economic Development Committee shares the cost to operate the program with DISD. She stated that she has received $6,000 from the EDC for the coming year, but asks that DISD provide $5,000, noting that the school’s overall contribution is more accurately approximately $15,000 because of the use of DISD facilities and equipment.
Renick noted that the ESL course for mothers drew a large group. Mothers arrived after dropping their children off to school each morning and attended a two-hour course, five days each week. Daycare was provided for younger children. Several of the mothers have expressed an interest in getting prepared to take a GED course and earn a GED.
The funding Renick has asked for is the same as the request last year. She noted, “The school has been phenomenal with the facilities and use of equipment, and goes beyond the $5,000 funding.”
DISD Superintendent David Foote agreed that the Community Connect program is valuable. He stated, “It is an awesome program and the school district gets a lot of credit because people think we are responsible for the program. So we know that the community values the program.” He went on to note that he enjoyed having the women enrolled in the ESL program in the DISD Administration building. He stated, “We also really enjoyed the wonderful food they brought in.” He commented that the ladies stated how much they enjoyed the program. He also stated, “The district is getting more return out of the estimated $15,000 that goes into the program.”
Board Trustee Misty Mellema commented, “I think it is amazing what you [Renick] have done with the program in such a short amount of time.” Renick noted that she plans to take time to find other sources of funding, including grant money. She is interested in ending the program’s dependency on DISD at some point in the future, so that the money budgeted for the program will go back into DISD’s budget.