Thanks to a $50 million federal grant, Fort Wayne Community Schools will get to pursue opportunities it normally couldn't afford.
Without going into detail, administrators told the school board Monday that the PEER grant – Performance + Equity = Excellent Results! – will support professional learning and a system to develop and retain effective staff, among other uses.
“This is basically going to be used to do a lot of things that we just wouldn't have the money to do,” board President Julie Hollingsworth said.
“We would not be able to do a lion's share of a lot of this work,” replied Charles Cammack, chief operations officer.
The board unanimously approved acceptance of the competitive grant for three years, renewable up to five years, for a total of $49,946,193.
It is from the U.S. Department of Education, Teacher and School Leadership Incentive Program.
Consultant Carol Guse of EduShift Inc. wrote the grant and will remain involved as an external evaluator. The board approved the appointment of EduShift for evaluation and technical services at a cost of nearly $2 million over the course of the grant.
“We have to have someone that is monitoring and evaluating what we're doing,” Cammack said.
He described Guse as invaluable because she not only thoroughly knows the grant but has also helped FWCS meet the federal government's requirements.
More information about the grant will be presented Feb. 26, Superintendent Wendy Robinson said.
In other business, the board approved Larry Gerardot's retirement effective June 29. He is principal of the FWCS Career Academy at Anthis and has been with the district since 1991.
“Larry, when you think of Anthis Career Center, any type of career ed in this district, his name comes up. He's known throughout the state, countrywide, for his expertise,” Robinson said. “... He will be more than missed.”
The board also approved multiple construction contracts, including nearly $1.2 million for roofing projects at three schools, about $482,000 in asbestos abatement at two schools and a $6.5 million contract for the Washington Center Elementary School renovation.