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Three Southern Tier school districts are seeking a $431,000, three-year federal grant to help finance a program for students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

The Healthy Community Alliance is seeking financing from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. School districts in the alliance are Pioneer, Gowanda and Springville Central.

Jeffrey Bowen, Pioneer assistant superintendent, said the districts might learn either this winter or next spring if they are to be awarded the grants.

The districts have asked for $55,000 for the 2001-02 school year, $136,000 for 2002-03 school year and $240,000 for 2003-04. If approved, the first year of proposed grant funding will be used to develop the new effort, and the remaining two years will be used for student programming.

Bowen praised the proposal, shared with Pioneer District School Board members this week.

"It will improve the academic performance of our children," Bowen said. "It will help reduce the amount of time needed to identify children as having special needs."

He said the Pioneer district has a special interest in applying for the grant because part of the school district is in southern Cattaraugus County, an area designated federally as having a high level of poverty.

Bowen said 3 percent to 5 percent of children have ADHD.

"We remain very interested in, and are reviewing carefully with our School Board and administration, the ways in which a grant-supported ADHD summer treatment program serving the Route 39 corridor can strengthen and extend our commitment to the disabled or potentially disabled children," Pioneer School Superintendent David Kurzawa said.

Bowen said a summer program will target children ages 5 to 15 in the three districts, if the funding is approved.

If funding is approved, agencies that also will help administer a school offering include the Center for Children and Families at the University at Buffalo, Fredonia State College and the Springville Pediatric Group.

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