By Sherry Chen ’19 and Zehaa Albradi ’19
Thanks to the Hornets’ ability to return their lunch forms, Midwood qualified for Title I targeted assistance again.
This federal funding is given to schools when 60 percent of the students come from households that make a lower-income or have a larger household size. Those who returned the lunch form who qualify at a lower financial rate are eligible for free or reduced lunch price and other benefits provided by the school.
“It is based on per student amount, which varies year to year, and the number of students that qualify,” said Mr. Alan Stack, assistant principal and administrator.
Last year, our school surpassed 60 percent and reached 60.3 percent, so the funding from last years qualification is used as targeted assistance this year.
According to Mr. Stack, the funding is used on only four major subject areas: English, math, social studies, science and for students who show risk of not graduating or failing the Regents. This means it can only benefit selected subject areas since the money is strictly used for certain purposes. It can’t be applied for all the students’ needs in other subjects.
This year we had 66.5 percent who qualified for federal funding which adds up to about two million dollars.
By voting for a Title I Schoolwide Program (Title I SWP) for next year, the school can use the money for other things besides the free SAT or AP tests provided.
“If we get approved, the money could be used for a bunch of things such as summer programs and Saturday programs for students who want to take an advanced course,” said Mr. Stack. “Maybe also for photography club, something students express interest in that we can’t do during a normal days, but now you can have something like that.”
The school’s budget is used for internal things such as purchasing supplies, new computers, air conditioners, and salaries for the teachers and staff members. Those old tarnished textbooks that you’ve all been complaining about can finally get an upgrade with the help of Title I SWP.
The funding can also help pay fees for more classroom trips. Some museums allow schools with Title I funding to go for free as a way to give back to the community and government.
“I would use the money from the lunch forms to provide the school with better sanitary conditions,” said Fairoz Avin ‘20. “By midday, the school runs out of toilet paper and napkins to dry our hands.”
You can also see improvement in some classrooms with new desks and air conditioners.
Toqa Gaber ‘20 wants the money to be used on more new desks and air conditioning for all the classes because she believes that if a student is comfortable where they learn, they will be more willing to learn rather than complain.
The facts that Midwood’s heating and cooling system is controlled by Brooklyn College is a roadblock for this improvement.
“We don’t have the authority to go into Brooklyn College and change the heating or cooling system, so it would be nice to be able to adjust the temperature in each class,” said Ermina Cirikovic ‘19.
However, the school getting its own heating system is impossible because the Title I money doesn’t cover building budgets. These budgets are covered by the Division of School Facilities (DSF).
“Things involving the building are known as DSF,” said Mr. Stack. “We don’t pay our custodian, that’s all done elsewhere. We don’t pay the heating bill, electric bill, phone bill, or anything to that effect. The school’s budget is for internal things.”
Mrs. Anna Rizzo played a big role in the return of lunch forms by going to classrooms and educating students on the benefits the funding offers. Her job was also to make sure everything was correctly filled out.
Teachers have also played a big role in encouraging students to bring it in by offering extra credit.
The staff voted on how the funding should be used for next year, either Title I SWP or Schoolwide. The majority voted for Title I SWP.
“For Schoolwide, there were 170 votes to 8 against. It was an overwhelming support,” said Mr. Conrad Boyd.
The parents voted on February 13, 2018 at 6:30 p.m., in the school’s auditorium. The results are currently unknown.