Three Midlands school districts are among four statewide that have received $49 million in federal grants to bolster programs that offer public-school students more choice.
Over five years, Richland 1 will receive $14.9 million, Richland 2 will receive $11.2 million and Lexington-Richland 5 will receive $13.7 million. Outside the Midlands, Florence 3 was awarded $9.1 million.
"South Carolina continues to strive to expand our school choice offerings for students and parents," said S.C. Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman.
"This federal grant award is testament to our goal to expand choice programs for all students and will go a long way in ensuring that students have access to programs that will engage them and prepare them for the next step after graduation."
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The $49 million flowing to S.C. school districts is part of $91.7 million awarded to 32 districts across 16 states. The federal grant money comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s Magnet Schools Assistance Program.
The money will pay to expand magnet schools, language immersion programs and other offerings geared toward exposing students to subjects outside what are traditionally taught in public schools.
Here’s a look at what the money will pay for:
$14.9 million for its “Leadership Richland One” project will fund:
▪ A language immersion program expansion at Carver-Lyon Elementary and career exploration magnet programs at Bradley Elementary and W.G. Sanders Middle School
▪ A career magnet school and academies in the fields of hospitality and tourism, government, entrepreneurship and engineering at W.J. Keenan High School.
$11.2 million for its “Med Pro 21: Healthcare for a Caring Community” project will fund the transformation of Bridge Creek Elementary, Rice Creek Elementary, Kelly Middle and Ridge View High schools into school-wide magnet schools with a focus on math and science and medical studies.
$13.7 million for its “Discover 5” grant project will fund:
▪ An arts integrated magnet program at Nursery Road Elementary, a Montessori program at H.E. Corley Elementary and an expansion of Leaphart Elementary’s STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs to include the arts
▪ A career initiative magnet program partnering with Irmo High School and the Center for Advanced Technical Studies