South Colonie Central School District was is one of 60 schools in the country to be awarded a federal grant for its physical education department.
The district was awarded $1.7 million as part of the Carol M. White Physical Physical Education Program (PEP) Grant. The money will be distributed over the next three years with largest amount coming in the first year, when the school will receive $714,708. The greater Amsterdam School District was the only other Upstate district to be selected, garnering $633.071 for its programs.
Earlier this fall, Congressman Paul Tonko announced the federal grants for the two districts, applauding the work of the districts’ athletic directors in securing the money for their schools.
“A strong physical education is critical to our state’s ability to provide a well-rounded education to Capital Region students,” said Tonko. “These grants will ensure that our children will have the opportunity to build strong bodies as well as strong minds.”
South Colonie Supervisor of Physical Education and Athletic Jason Semo said he hopes to use the money to build up the district’s physical education program.
“This will take our program, which is currently very good, to the next level,” said Semo.
He said that district wasn’t meeting mandates at the state level due to changes in the curriculum and that a lot of equipment and supplies were outdated due to budget cuts in the state.
“We applied for this grant last spring with the cooperation of the entire staff. You have to show a lot of data demonstrating you’re a district in need,” said Semo.
The Carol M. White PEP grant is designed to initiate, help or expand physical education programs, including after-school programs for students in grades K-12. The money must be used to implement programs that help students progress toward meeting state standards.
“Our number one goal in this whole process to make sure we spend our money wisely. Our number two goal is that we want to make sure that when the money is no longer offered, we can sustain these programs and equipment,” said Semo.
Approximately 9,000 students will be impacted by the grants in the South Colonie School District.
“We’re pretty optimistic in terms of what we can do with this money and what we can offer our students,” said Semo.