VALPARAISO | To help area school districts create jobs and skills, Valparaiso's Redevelopment Commission is giving $365,000 of its 2013 education grants to the Valparaiso Community and East Porter County schools.
The action brings to about $1.1 million the money made available to the two school districts to obtain technology for the classrooms over the last three years.
The money is given on a per student basis with Valparaiso to receive $265,720 for its 6,418 students and East Porter County getting $99,530 for its 2,400 students.
East Porter County also has $72,530 available allocated but not spent in 2012. The commission's Executive Director Stuart Summers said the money was carried over for this year because it was allocated late in 2012 from savings on the Vale Park Road/Ind. 49 interchange project.
It is unlikely unspent balances will be carried over in future years, he said.
The school districts have until June 3 to submit applications for the money to reimburse them for "capital project-based acquisitions which enhance the problem solving, collaboration and analytical skills needed for the 21st century global economy-based jobs."
The grants are to be used for one-time expenses and are not intended to subsidize ongoing operating expenses. For 2013, the commission agreed to allow the schools to use up to $3,000 of the money as a match for a grant from the Indiana Arts Commission Arts in Education Granting Program.
Jim Jorgensen serves as the schools' representative on the commission and said the education grant program helps.
"I really think it is significant, especially when local government revenues are strained, as they are now," he said.
While it will be up to the administration to decide what projects to apply the grants to, Jorgensen said one possibility for Valparaiso is to complete the effort to equip every classroom with white boards, which enable the teachers to bring "the best part of the Internet" to their students.
Valparaiso's share would cover about 60 percent of the cost, he said.