USD 379 School Board Votes to Reallocate Patterson Family Foundation Grant to Grow Clay County for Child Care Center Efforts

By Quinn O’Hara

A Patterson Family Foundation grant initially awarded to USD 379 has been returned with the hopes of being reallocated to Grow Clay County.

In an email to USD 379 Superintendent Brett Nelson on June 3, Patterson Family Foundation Program Officer Denise Schuele said, “The goal and intent of this program is to increase the capacity and number of licensed childcare centers and slots, serving ages birth to 5 years of age, in shortage areas throughout our rural catchment.”

She noted that eligible use of funds includes spending up to $100,000 on program materials and other one-time operational needs, $25,000 on training, certification, and other capacity-building needs, and $50,000 on minor capital improvements aimed at adapting existing district facilities to better serve the functions of childcare. Ineligible use of the funds includes but is not limited to supporting existing Pre-K programs, after-school programs, summer school, school district salaries, or classroom equipment.

In the email, Schuele said if USD 379 did not move forward with the establishment of a childcare center, the district could either reallocate the funds to Grow Clay County to support their childcare center efforts or return the funds to the Patterson Family Foundation.

In their regular meeting on June 10, the USD 379 School Board voted 4-3 in favor of reallocating the funds to Grow Clay County to be used in support of their childcare center efforts. Board Members Dave Jermark, Andy Auld, Linda Sleichter, and Tracy Claeys voted in favor of the measure, with Members Jason Bergsten, Shanna Sterling, and Jeff Cannizzo opposed.

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