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Aid for Native American students outlined at Silver Creek School District hearings

SILVER CREEK – Two programs that provide financial assistance to school districts that serve Native American students were discussed during public hearings Wednesday at Silver Creek Central School.

Paula Redeye, coordinator of the Title VII grant program at Silver Creek, presented data about the second year of a four-year program that tracks Native American students.

She said that at one point there were 180 students in prekindergarten through 12th grade at the school. Test data and participation were presented for about 150 students.

Redeye said that attendance and parental involvement are two priorities of the Title VII funding.

The district anticipates receiving about $77,000 for the programs in the 2015-16 academic year.

Redeye added that parent meetings and mentoring services for students are among the offerings for participants.

Reducing the number of dropouts is one of the goals of the grant, she said.

Silver Creek students have the opportunity to participate in Seneca language classes and Iroquois culture lessons. The students are allowed to use the Seneca classes as part of their proficiency for state Regents diplomas.

The district has about 10 percent of its population identified as Native American or living on the reservation – a threshold that may make the school eligible for federal impact aid, Redeye said.

District Business Administrator Cynthia Mackowiak said the hearing Wednesday was part of the process to apply for the impact aid.

If the district meets the criteria, she said, it may be eligible for about $400,000.

The funding is not guaranteed each year but has served as a stable revenue in districts that have qualified for it, she said.

School Superintendent Daniel G. Ljiljanich said the district has compiled a complex and detailed application about property that would be considered eligible.

The district may hear about grant eligibility in late fall or sometime in the 2015-16 school year, the superintendent said.

Part of the impact aid would help children with disabilities, officials said.