Hamilton Schools announce new grants for students, building security upgrades

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Sep. 23—The leader of Hamilton Schools told board members the district has recently received a series of grants totaling thousands of dollars for various schools and student groups.

Mike Holbrook, superintendent of the 9,000-student city schools, told the Hamilton Board of Education Thursday evening the grants are all appreciated and represents the work of officials in the district's business operations and grants department who generate applications for monies outside the usual state and local operating funds.

"Those folks work tirelessly to provide our students opportunities through various grants that are available," said Holbrook.

Among the grants recently obtained is a $196,628 state grant to fund school building security improvements and two $5,000 grants — from the George W. Bush Foundation — each going to improve libraries at Garfield Middle School and Crawford Woods Elementary.

And Riverview Elementary has won a $1,250 grant from the Greater Cincinnati Foundation.

A $2,500 grant is headed to Hamilton High School for 21st Century employment training, said Holbrook and the Hamilton Community Foundation has donated $1,000 to both Hamilton High School and the high school band program.

"Our folks are always out looking for funds that are not general fund dollars to help support our students."

Hamilton Schools have long held a local reputation as a district that seldom has to place local school tax levy issues before voters for approval.

The last operating levy that passed for Hamilton Schools was in 1993. Another operating levy was defeated by voters in 1997, leading to budget cuts impacting personnel and programs across the school system.

Laurin Sprague, president of the Hamilton Board of Education, said after Holbrook's presentation: "I applaud all the people working behind the scenes on all these grant opportunities."

"As we know, between our community and state funding it doesn't always give us enough to do all the things we want to do. And those grants certainly fill the gap in those endeavors," said Sprague.