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Vol. 45, No. 112
Dec. 15, 2011

Tax Refund Donations Help Launch Six New Afterschool Reading Programs

Nearly $11,000 donated by Missouri citizens and corporations from their 2010 tax refunds will make possible six new afterschool reading programs across the state. The programs will help about 330 students in grades K-9 improve their reading skills this spring.

The Afterschool Retreat Reading and Assessment Grant Program began in 2008 when the state legislature established a trust fund dedicated to afterschool reading programs.  The trust allows individuals, couples and corporations to donate a portion of their tax refund, or make a direct contribution, to help boost the reading skills of Missouri students.

Managed by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the afterschool trust fund provides up to $2,000 for competitively selected programs that emphasize reading and improving students’ skills. School districts are required to provide a 15-percent match, which may consist of money or in-kind contributions.

The six grant recipients are:

  • Bronaugh School District (grades 5-8)

  • Brunswick R-II School District (grades K-6)

  • Farmington R-7 School District, Lincoln Intermediate School (grade 6)

  • Mountain View-Birch Tree School District, Mountain View Elementary (grade 1)

  • Northeast Vernon High School (grades 7-9)

  • St. Louis City Public School District, Hickey Elementary (grades 2-4)

The primary purpose of the grant program is to help improve reading skills at schools where at least 40 percent of the student population is eligible for free or reduced-cost meals. Now in its third year, the program has provided financial support to 21 afterschool programs.

“We anticipate the next round of grant applications will be solicited next fall,” said Cindy Heislen, director of extended learning programs.  “Of course, it all depends on whether money is available in the fund to make awards each year.”