SAFE BASE awarded funding for five years



January 10, 2012 - 12:00 AM

SAFE BASE is here to stay — for at least another five years, anyway.

SAFE BASE director Angela Henry told the USD 257 Board of Education Monday the after-school program serving USD 257 for the past 12 years has secured $584,473 through a 21st Century Community Learning Center grant provided via the Kansas State Department of Education.

“We weathered the storm again,” Henry said. “It’s mind boggling to me that at the end of this grant cycle we’ll have been here for 17 years and when I was offered the job, I was told I had a job for three years.”

The funds, funneled to the state by way of the federal government, cover operational expenses such as salaries, staff training, basic supplies, food and some technology tools such as iPads and iPad accessories.

To sustain the funding through the desired five years, SAFE BASE — serving more than 120 kids each day — will use $184,473 of the grant the first year and $100,000 each subsequent year.

“We couldn’t put in anything in year one that we couldn’t sustain through year five,” Henry told the USD 257 board. 

USD 257 Superintendent of Schools Brian Pekarek lauded Henry for her efforts in securing the funding that ensures area kids, ages kindergarten through fifth grade, will have a safe and constructive place to go during the vital hours between the end of the school day and the time when parents get off work.

“Angela (Henry) deserves a lot of credit for this,” Pekarek said. “She worked very hard writing the grant, and it’s just wonderful it paid off.”

To successfully write the grant, Henry combed through almost 36 pages of data spelling out what was required before crafting a 61-page grant letter. To the district’s benefit, it wasn’t her first rodeo.

Since coming to work for SAFE BASE and USD 257 in 2000, Henry has written a plethora of grant applications including three successful 21st Century Community Learning Center grants — the source of the majority of SAFE BASE funds during its existence.

But even with nearly $600,000 secured for the next five years — the Bowlus Fine Arts Center has also committed $50,000 throughout the next five years as well — SAFE BASE needs more to maintain the current services it offers.

“The grant level will not sustain us at the level we need so we’ll still be looking for grant dollars in addition to the state money,” Henry said, adding that the 21st Century Community Learning Center grant provides for 120 children each day. “We exceed that on most days.”

Henry estimated a need for an additional $50,000 to $70,000 each year in order for SAFE BASE to meet demand during the school year as well as maintain its summer program.