U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige has announced 21 new grants totaling $36 million in federal support for magnet school programs that bring diverse groups of children together, offer public school choice, and create innovative educational programs for students.

The awards–the first of an expected 60 grants and $95 million to be awarded over the next several months–are going to school districts in 14 states. Distributed under the federal Magnet Schools Assistance Program, the funding will help school districts set up or strengthen magnet programs, and technology is one of the components eligible for support.

“Parents, armed with options and choice, are equipped to ensure that their children get the highest quality education possible,” Paige said. “Competition among schools can be a powerful motivator to help schools improve the quality and scope of programs they offer, and to make sure that young people learn the core knowledge that they need to succeed in the world today.”

Awarded June 12, the funds will help school districts establish or expand existing magnet programs that are part of a school district’s court-ordered or federally approved desegregation plan.

To qualify for funding, projects must:

  • Foster interaction among students of different social, economic, ethnic, and racial backgrounds in classroom activities and extracurricular activities;
  • Carry out a high-quality educational program that will substantially strengthen students’ reading skills or knowledge of mathematics, science, history, geography, English, foreign languages, art, music, technology, or vocational skills;
  • Reduce, eliminate, or prevent minority group isolation in participating schools;
  • Address the educational needs of the students who will be enrolled in the magnet schools; and
  • Encourage greater parental decision-making and involvement.

The projects in Hot Springs, Ark.; Rapides Parish, La.; Lansing, Mich.; Berkeley County, S.C.; and Harrison County, Miss., are first-time magnet schools grant recipients.

The department expects to fund a total of 60 awards, ranging in size from less than $1 million to more than $2 million a year over three years. Almost $15 million will fund the continuation of four other magnet schools programs that received initial funding last year, as well as 15 innovative programs that involve local desegregation activities that expand parental choice through the use of strategies other than magnet schools.

The Magnet Schools Assistance Program is authorized under Title V, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act as amended in 1994 and is administered by the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE).

OESE is not accepting any more applications this year, and you should also note that competitions for this grant do not take place yearly, but every three years. For further information, call Steve Brockhouse, (202) 260-2476, or visit http://www.ed.gov/offices/OESE/SIP/

FY 2001 New Grant Recipients

Arkansas

  • Hot Springs School District, $2,028,382
    Contact: Donald R. Waldrip, (501) 624-3372
  • Little Rock School District, $2,336,370
    Contact: Linda Austin, (501) 324-2112

California

  • San Diego Unified School District, $2,024,098
    Contact: Patricia A. Trandal, (619) 725-7153
  • San Jose Unified School District, $2,262,650
    Contact: Sharon Andres, (408) 535-6378

Connecticut

  • New Haven Public Schools, $1,906,292
    Contact: Edward Linehan, (203) 946-5696

Florida

  • Miami-Dade County School District, $1,015,782
    Contact: John Johnson II, (305) 995-1704
  • School Board of Pinellas County, $2,152,979
    Contact: Deidra K. Honeywell, (727) 588-6539
  • School District of Escambia County, $1,025,692
    Contact: Linda R. Gulley, (850) 469-5329
  • Seminole County Public Schools, $953,240
    Contact: Sherry O’Leary, (407) 320-0458

Indiana

  • Indianapolis Public Schools, $1,654,560
    Contact: Billie Moore, (317) 226-4794

Louisiana

  • Rapides Parish School Board, $1,926,696
    Contact: Lyle Hutchinson, (318) 473-8585

Massachusetts

  • Springfield Public Schools, $2,245,324
    Contact: Joshua P. Bogin, (413) 787-7752

Michigan

  • Lansing School District, $2,147,493
    Contact: Shari J. Miller, (517) 325-6125
  • Kalamazoo City School District, $2,275,408
    Contact: Yvonne Davis, (616) 337-0183

    Mississippi

    • Harrison County School District, $1,166,442
      Contact: Charlotte Davis, (228) 539-5946

    New York

    • Community School District #21 (Brooklyn), $1,655,160
      Contact: Barry M. Fein, (718) 714-2541
    • Yonkers City Schools, $1,993,846
      Contact: Fern Eisgrub, (914) 376-8213

    North Carolina

    • Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, $2,132,154
      Contact: Robbie Kale, (704) 343-5030

    Pennsylvania

    • Philadelphia School District, $551,561
      Contact: Harry J. Gaffney, (215) 335-5043

    South Carolina

    • Berkeley County School District, $653,982
      Contact: Anne B. Godbee, (843) 899-8640

    Texas

    • Aldine Independent School District, $2,123,718
      Contact: Diane Creekmore, (281) 985-6416