Commission approves $100,000 grant to Portage schools

2014-03-28T12:45:00Z 2014-03-28T23:13:09Z Commission approves $100,000 grant to Portage schoolsJoyce Russell joyce.russell@nwi.com, (219) 762-1397, ext. 2222 nwitimes.com

PORTAGE | The Portage Redevelopment Commission this week approved a grant, giving the Portage Township Schools $100,000.

The 21st Century Education Challenge Grant will be used for technology.

The approval also puts an end to more than a year of negotiations between the schools and city over tax increment financing district money.

Portage Township Schools Superintendent E. Ric Frataccia, who also sits on the Porter County Redevelopment Commission, began asking the city's redevelopment commission to "carve out" the schools from its TIF district over a year ago. Frataccia estimated the school district had lost some $1 million over the course of a few years in property taxes because of the city's TIF district.

Representatives of the city, including Mayor James Snyder, and the school district, including Frataccia and School Board President Cheryl Oprisko, met several months ago to negotiate a deal between the city and schools.

State law allows redevelopment commissions to establish grant programs to reimburse school districts. The Valparaiso Redevelopment Commission has had such a program for several years and divides its grant money between the Valparaiso Community Schools and East Porter County Schools district. In 2014, Valparaiso is granting $600,000 to the two districts, divided based on student population.

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