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FACES eyes grant funding



FALLS CITY -- Family Academic Clubs and Enrichment for Success (FACES), Falls City School District's after-school program that just completed its fifth year, is at the end of it main source of grant funding.The popular program will continue in the 2013-14 school year -- even if that means pulling from the district's general fund to support it -- but could expand based on the outcome of a grant application submitted last week.FACES offers a homework help hour and enrichment classes for district students of all ages after school. This last school year, those classes included music, art, theater and Zumba, among other disciplines. A five-year $700,000 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant helped create the program starting with the 2008-09 school year and has provided operating funds since, though grant funding has declined to 50 percent this last year.FACES Director Amy Houghtaling submitted an application for a second five-year grant last week that would provide $128,000 in each of the next three years, $96,000 in the fourth year, and $64,000 in the fifth year, if awarded.However, Houghtaling said the Falls City School District has committed funding to keep the program going next year if the grant doesn't come through, but in a scaled back form.In 2012-13, working with less money, Houghtaling reduced the number of enrichment classes to three six-week sessions, in addition to the one hour of homework help provided throughout the school year. Field trips, taken on Fridays when FACES is in session, were also reduced by 10 in the last school year.If FACES receives the grant, the program will increase staff and have funding to pay Houghtaling to manage the program.FACES activities will increase slightly, as well. "We are still going to do the homework help and three six-week sessions, but we will go back to our initial number of field trips," Houghtaling said.The grant would also pay for a social worker to assist FACES teachers, in part to replace the loss of the district's mental health counselor earlier in the school year."We still need that support, so we are trying to get creative with that," Houghtaling said.If the grant doesn't come through, the program will continue on a status-quo basis, with only an onsite coordinator and Houghtaling volunteering her time for administrative responsibilities.Houghtaling said she should receive notice about the 21st Century grant later this month, but she is not waiting until hearing about the grant to get started on a "Plan B." She and the Falls City Arts Council are applying to other grant programs, as a backup.If the grant is awarded, funding will begin July 1.



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