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STARPOINT GRANT WRITER GATHERS PERSONAL REWARDS

After bringing more than $600,000 in grants to the school district during the last two years, grant writer Maggie Cattarin is feeling a little love from the Starpoint School Board.

The board -- which contracted her for one year at a $22,000 salary -- recently gave her a few perks in appreciation for her efforts.

As of this month, Cattarin will receive one week of paid vacation and three paid holidays, along with a $2,000 bonus. Her paid holidays are Presidents' Day, Good Friday and Memorial Day.

"We've changed Maggie's contract," said School Superintendent C. Douglas Whelan. "We've provided her with paid vacation, paid holidays and the bonus because we fully appreciate all her work and the tremendous effort she's put forth on our behalf. She is working out very well, and the only thing we can do at this point is offer her some of the amenities we feel she deserves."

The board also took action because Cattarin is not represented by a district union and is tied in to a one-year contract that provides only her salary, Whelan said.

Her current contract ends June 30. Whelan said he is preparing to start negotiations with Cattarin to keep her at Starpoint for at least another year.

Will she be offered a better salary?

"We intend to meet with her, review the whole year and negotiate a new contract," Whelan said.

Cattarin already has obtained a $150,000 federal Carol White Grant, which provided new fitness equipment for the district's physical education program; a $100,000 federal Emergency Response and Crisis Management Grant to improve district security; a $30,000 state Education Department Mentor Teacher Intern Program Grant to pay experienced teachers to coach new instructors; and several other grants.

Cattarin said she also has submitted nearly 40 grant applications to various government and private agencies and foundations, for nearly $1 million, to finance various programs. The applications include requests for $7,000 in grant money to develop an outdoor biological laboratory and nature trail that can be used by science classes and for recreational activities such as hiking, jogging and cross-country skiing.

"I will be disappointed if the district does not receive a million (dollars in grants) this year," Cattarin said.

e-mail: pwestmoore@buffnews.com