Surprise! Casey gets money for education, fire protection

August 19, 2004|BRENDA S. EDWARDS

LIBERTY - In a surprise visit Tuesday to Casey County, U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield and Anne Hancock, regional representative for the U.S. secretary of the Department of Education, presented a $103,533 grant to the Casey County Board of Education.

South East Volunteer Fire Department also got a $62,396 grant for fire protection equipment.

The educational grant will be used to help elementary students with reading.

In a sweep through four southeast Kentucky counties, Whitfield presented $484,000 in educational funds to school libraries in Casey, Metcalf, Cumberland and Todd counties. The funds will be used to create a comprehensive local strategy to improve student reading achievement by improving school library services and resources.

"This money will be a boost for the libraries and help to increase the literacy rate," said Whitfield. "School libraries are a tremendous resource for students and the entire community. I will continue my efforts to secure more money for our local libraries."


Hancock, a former college dean, has been working in education for 40 years. Before she presented the check, she said that there is nothing more important than educating young people.

She talked about the No Child Left Behind program, saying that President Bush has put 36 percent more money into education since he has been president.

"My passion and purpose is to educate children," said Hancock. "I have been in education all my life, and I've seen wonderful things happen in schools."

She said she started teaching at age 19, when schools did not leave a child behind, but it's different today.

She said President Bush is for public education and "we don't have an option to fail."

She believes that all children can learn. "They do not learn all things, and don't learn everything at the same time. Some children learn in a different way."

Hancock retired five years ago and has worked with the No Child Left Behind program since it was established. "I love to be in public schools amidst education and children," she said.

The grant application for the educational funds was written by Janet Emerson, who retired recently from the county Board of Education. She prepared the application for a Kids And Reading Enhancement grant to help the six county elementary schools enhance reading opportunities through school, community and partnerships that involve parents.

Superintendent Linda Hatter said the money will be a boost to the elementary schools that did not get Reading First grants.

The money is provided through the Department of Education's Improving Literacy Through School Libraries program. The program is one component of the department's commitment to dramatically improve student achievement by focusing available re-sources, including those of school library media centers, on reading achievement.

Fire department grant

South East Volunteer Fire Department received $62,396 to purchase personal protection equipment. Fire Chief Jamie Maupin and Assistant Chief Kenny Durham accepted the check.

Whitfield commended the volunteers for donating their time to help protect homes and other structures in the community. The firefighters do not receive any pay or pension for their services, he said. The only money the fire department receives is about $8,000 a year from the state.

The federal program that provides grants for local volunteer fire departments began four years ago, said Whitfield. Applications must be submitted for the money.

Last year, East Casey County Fire Department received $112,000 through the program to purchase a new truck.

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