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Edgecombe bolsters school security

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BY AMELIA HARPER
Staff Writer

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

TARBORO — The Edgecombe County Board of Education accepted one grant award and signed off on two other grant applications Monday during its October meeting. 

The school district has received a $29,580 school safety grant from the state, which it plans to use to upgrade nine school doors to access control doors that can only be opened with key card access. Charlene Pittman, director of student support services, said the grant will cover all but three school entrance doors that need to be upgraded.

The $29,580 amount was based on a formula of $5 for each of the 5,916 students reported as the average daily membership of the school district in the 2017-18 academic year. The funds came from a School Safety Grants program that was developed this year by the General Assembly and the state superintendent of public instruction as a way to help pay for school programs that support school safety or improve mental health resources for school districts.

Ann Kent, vice chairwoman of the school board, said she is concerned about the three doors that would not be upgraded because of the limit on grant funds.

“I think we need to see if we can find the $9,000 needed to upgrade the remaining doors in our budget,” Kent said. “I would hate for something to happen because we did not fix those doors.”

Superintendent Valerie Bridges said she would meet with staff members to see if funding can be found in the budget to accommodate the request.

Phillips Middle School is also applying for a $2,000 mini-grant from Edgecombe County through its Recreation Mini Grant program. Through the program, Edgecombe County awards grants that promote recreational activities in the county. 

The school is requesting the funds in order to purchase gym wall mats, two treadmills, one elliptical machine, free weights, kettle bells and exercise balls. 

“In turn, Phillips will host community events to promote healthy lifestyles that will include open gym, exercise classes and a 5K event,” the application states.

Through a separate grant application, Phillips Middle School is also seeking $7,058.99 to install six new Elkay stainless steel drinking fountains with bottle filling stations in order to encourage students to drink more water. The funds are requested through a Rethink Your Drink: Water’s Cool at School grant application to the Delta Dental Foundation. If the grant is awarded, students at the school would each receive their own water bottle through the program. 

“Drinking plenty of water can help combat obesity, increase energy levels and may improve students’ cognitive functions,” the application states. 

School board members unanimously approved each of the grant applications.

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