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McPhersonSentinel - McPherson, KS
  • Reading program's effects uncertain for county

  • Gov. Sam Brownback has proposed a new reading initiative aimed at boosting proficiency, but the initiative’s effect on McPherson county schools is still uncertain.
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  • Gov. Sam Brownback has proposed a new reading initiative aimed at boosting proficiency, but the initiative’s effect on McPherson county schools is still uncertain.
    The initiative will use $12 million in each of the next two years from federal assistance funds aimed at low-income families.
    The program would be paid for through the Department for Children and Families using funds from federal Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program that typically provides cash assistance to families in poverty. The program will target a number of high-poverty urban and rural school districts through after-school reading programs and will be evaluated by the University of Kansas to determine effectiveness.
    Bill Seidl, superintendent of Canton-Galva school district, said he’s glad the governor is promoting reading, but he hasn’t received enough information to know how the initiative will affect Canton-Galva schools.
    Randy Watson, superintendent of McPherson School District, said while the program’s parameters haven’t yet been released to schools, he does not believe McPherson schools will be eligible.
    “From what I know right now, the funds would not be available to McPherson because our poverty levels are not high enough to qualify,” Watson said. “I can’t say with certainty that this is true, but it appears to be that way in what I currently know.”
    Both Watson and Seidl said what the districts need from the state is increased school funding.
    “This would allow us to give a cost-of-living increase to our staff and help fully fund the programs we have already put in place,” Watson said.
    Seidl said giving schools larger budgets would be more effective than setting aside money for specific purposes. He said this would allow schools to address needs specific to the district Not all districts need help in the same areas, he said.
    “The reality of it is we need more money in schools to put where we see needs,” Seidl said.
    The Associated Press contributed to this report.
    Contact Josh Arnett by email at jarnett@mcphersonsentinel.com and follow him on Twitter @ArnettSentinel.
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