New job descriptions may mean additional grant funding for Natchitoches Parish School District

Business Affairs Director for the Natchitoches Parish School District Lee Waskom presented the School Board with job descriptions for a temporary grant writer, so there can be two people writing grants and a full time grant administrator. The board approved the job descriptions at its April 8 meeting.

Grants take tremendous amounts of administration. During Hurricane Laura all 12 school campuses had damages. It could be as high as $1.6 million so it could go as high as $3 million worth of repairs. They pay the district an additional five percent to pay for the administrator so there’d be enough money to pay a grant administrator’s salary for a whole year. Waskom has already hired one on a temporary basis because there’s so much work to be done.

Dr. Amy Thompson is currently a district employee and would like to be hired as a grant writer on an as-needed basis.

Thompson has been a grant writer for the City of Natchitoches for several years. She’s learned that working together as a community to make things better is important because grant donors like to see this. Every corporation usually has an area designated to give for grants. The grant writer’s responsibility is to tell a story of how funds will benefit the entity that receives them. According to Thompson, the district has a real chance of obtaining some real money to do some things that need to be done.

Title I grant funding deals with instruction, curriculum, and what the district needs to teach and Thompson would be “fishing” for grants for all the other stuff that the district needs like playgrounds and so much more.

In addition, some FEMA grants actually have an area where they do pay print fees and that is not often but with larger grants they do they realize the work involved.

Sarah Burkehalter was hired on a temporary basis to help administering FEMA grants. Once this project, which will take months to finish, is finished Waskom said he would like to make her a permanent employee at a pay of around $32,000.

Gabe Firment has advised Waskom that the broadband funding can be acquired from a different source. It’s up to $17 million. The district could use its ESSER II and III money to deploy broadband, which is estimated to be somewhere between $5-10 million. Or if it could acquire this other grant to pay 70-80% that’s a big deal. The ESSER II and III money could be saved and deployed elsewhere because the district has 5 years to use all the money.

Grant writing is about networking so Waskom said he wants to send the grant writer to training seminars. It’s also about finding new funding opportunities. As an example, he explained that a third of the Lafayette Tourist Commission’s funding ($20 million) came from writing grants.

Waskom’s goal is that it’s not going to cost the district anything.


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