EL CENTRO – State Sen. Ben Hueso presented Imperial Valley’s Imagine School with a $306,273 check funded by the California Charter School Facility Grant Program last week during a special school assembly.
The Charter School Facility Grant Program is a noncompetitive program that provides assistance with renting facilities and lease expenditures for charter schools that meet specific eligibility criteria. The grant program was enacted in 2002 to reimburse charter schools in low income areas for rental and lease costs. The program targets schools and communities that have higher proportions of economically disadvantaged students.
“It is with great honor that I present $306,000 dollars to Imagine School,” stated Hueso. “I am thrilled that this funding has improved and enhanced the learning environment for our children through the addition of classes and classrooms. Our children can now learn in a comfortable setting and take advantage of programs that meet their educational needs.”
The funding will go towards paying for building improvements that were made in the beginning of the school year. Improvements included an additional 33 classrooms, as well as a library, cafeteria, auditorium, and special education classes.
“This money means the expansion of our classrooms, offering more facilities for our students that are safe in an environment that is rich for learning,” said Dr. Grace Cortez-Jiminez, Regional Director for Imagine School. “It means turning this school into a great place for students to be educated and also to give parents a choice, because we are a charter school. Parents actually elect to come to our school because they want their children in a program like ours.”
According to Cortez-Jiminez, most of the money will go towards paying outstanding loans used during the school’s construction in 2010.
“During the construction of the school, we applied for loans that were utilized to build 33 classrooms, one special education room and the school playground. Therefore, with this money we will be able to pay those loans,” said Cortez-Jiminez.
Imagine School at Imperial Valley currently educates over 800 students in kindergarten through eighth grade.
Hueso enjoyed a special presentation by the school’s Color Guard and Drill Team, and received apple-shaped thank you notes from the school’s second grade classes. He also took the opportunity to speak to students on the importance of education and staying in school.
“I want you to focus in school, study and get the highest paying jobs available in California,” Hueso told the students.
To be eligible for the charter school grant, applicants must have at least 70 percent of students enrolled at the charter school who are eligible for free or reduced-price meals, or the charter school must be physically located in an elementary school attendance area where at least 70 percent of students enrolled are eligible for free to reduced-price meals.
“This year will be the year that has the highest funding per student in our state’s history,” Hueso said. “Imperial County is one of the counties that has higher needs, therefore we are going to see more money coming into Imperial County than any other county in the state of California.”[envira-gallery id=”73546”]