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Grants that support programs and services at Flint Community Schools have been put on pause.

Grants that support programs and services at Flint Community Schools have been put on pause.

Due to the lack of funding, the school district announced the Crim Fitness Foundation and YouthQuest afterschool programming will not be available for families during the 2021-22 school year.

The summer programming for Crim Fitness Foundation and YouthQuest will continue until Aug. 4, the first day of school.

Flint Community Schools Superintendent Anita Steward released the following statement:

“At Flint Community Schools, we strive to develop a community of learners who are prepared to live, work and contribute to an ever-changing society. As we approach the 2021-22 school year, Flint Community Schools and its community education partners face an unforeseen funding hurdle. Grants that supported four of the district’s programs and services have been paused. As a result, the following services will not be available for the 2021-22 school year, at this time: MSU K-12 Outreach for technical assistance support, Cranbrook Education Community for science support, Crim Fitness Foundation programming and YouthQuest afterschool programming. In order to avoid disruptions for families for the remainder of the summer, the district will continue to provide its Crim Fitness Foundation and YouthQuest summer programming until the first day of school - August 4. We understand the importance of these services to our scholars and their families, and we regret that we will be unable to provide them for the 2021-22 school year. We hope that we can work with our community partners to secure the resources needed to bring these programs back. In the meantime, our teachers will continue to deliver a high-quality education to all of our scholars.” 

The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, which provided grants to the school district, said it could not communicate directly with the superintendent without the presence of the school board president due to a resolution that was passed by the board of education on June 16.

The foundation sent a letter to the Flint Board of Education President Carol McIntosh on July 16 about the need for the Mott Foundation and organizations to communicate directly with the superintendent. Instead of doing that, Ridgway White, president of the Charles Mott Foundation, said the district sent a letter to parents telling them the programs were being cut.

To ensure awarded grants meet the goals of the agreement and requirements of the IRS, the Mott Foundation said it must be able to communicate with the leaders of the organizations that receive or benefit from the funds.

“Given the absence of any direct communication from the district to Mott, it leads us to conclude FCS has elected not to continue receiving Mott Foundation grant funds,” the Mott Foundation wrote in a statement.

The foundation added this is not the outcome it hoped for and it wants to continue dialogue with the school district soon.

"First and foremost, we remain open to working with Flint Community Schools and committed to the kids in Flint," said Ridgway White, president of the Charles Mott Foundation. "We're just asking that the school board superintendent, the school superintendent be allowed to have open and direct communications with them on foundation and the grantees that support these programs."

White said his foundation has yet to hear from anyone from the district.

"You know, have tried to move the needle. But you know, unfortunately, just you know, this constant turnover of, you know, administration is challenging. And so you know, we've had four superintendents since 2018. And that's you know, every time we get going you know, the plans get a little bit stalled," White said.

White acknowledges the strain on families without programs like YouthQuest. That's why for the time being, he said they are extending grants for the program for three months. But what happens after that is still up in the air if the school district doesn't talk to the foundation.

"You know, we know that YouthQuest after school and Crim Community Education are sensitive components to families' lives and we want to continue to support that. But we've got to be able to have this communication blockage you know, removed," White said.

Copyright 2021 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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