The Palo Alto County Gaming and Development Corporation (PACGDC) approved changes to its grant cycle funding to cities and K-12 schools in the county during its August board meeting. According to Larry (Skip) Wallace, board president, the municipalities and schools will receive award funds this upcoming grant year (2013), instead of applying for grants. "We are always looking for ways to improve our grant process and so we spent time this summer seeking ways to fund our schools and cities that is more equitable and easier for everyone involved," indicated Wallace.
PACGDC approved a funding formula that awards a total of $200,000 for the five school districts in Palo Alto County and $350,000 to the municipalities according to Wallace. "Our committee came up with a formula to award schools and cities dollars based on enrollment and population respectively. We think it is fair and it was enthusiastically received by the school and city representatives when we presented it to them last week." Wallace indicated that both the city councils and the school boards will need to determine the projects where they will use this award funding. They have also been asked to announce those projects to the public at the March 3rd awards' ceremony. "We are very anxious to hear what the cities and schools decide to do with this award money, because they now have advance notice of secure funding for 2013. It should make for an exciting awards' ceremony when they share their project plans with all of us. "
Board member Lloyd Petersen discussed the changes with the cities and school representatives last week. "Neither the schools nor the cities will be able to apply for major grant funding for this year. Instead they will be asked to determine a project(s) by March and then carefully document how they spent those dollars during 2013." An exception has been made for the fire departments, as he said those departments will still be able to apply for grant funding due to different fire funding sources across Palo Alto County.
Petersen detailed that PACGDC is still allowing each school to apply for two mini-grants, for up to $3,000, for the upcoming grant process due December 31, 2012. Petersen also explained that each of the cities in the county will be allowed to apply for two mini-grants as well, with the exception of Emmetsburg and they will be allowed to apply for up to six mini-grants. "The decision-making process on projects awarded major PACGDC funding is now being given to the school boards and city councils in our county for 2013. The elected councils and school boards will have to work with their staff, commissions, departments, and affiliated organizations to fund the priorities, as they see fit. We are anxious to see how this new change works for everyone."