Joe P. Asher
During a special called meeting of the Harlan Fiscal Court on Wednesday, the court discussed a resolution to apply for a grant for the Appalachian ChalleNGe Academy project.
According to the resolution, the court is requesting funds from the Kentucky Local Government Economic Development Fund (LGEDF) in the amount of up to $274,000.
Harlan County Judge-Executive Joe Grieshop advised the magistrates about the financial structure for the ChalleNGe Academy.
“I’ve had several conversations…about the monies for the Hall school moving forward. They looked at multi-county monies. They looked at existing monies that we had put in there a while back that was not used so there would be carryover. They looked at the worker’s comp monies, which was transformed into another sharing process and taken away from worker’s comp,” said Grieshop.
The magistrates inquired about $200,000 of funding for the project that had already been voted on.
“The $200,000 will come out of this $274,000,” explained Grieshop. “So it’s all equal.”
According to previous reports, ChalleNGe Academy Director Croley Forester stated the funding for the academy is 75 percent federal and 25 percent local. “I think the matching funds for the state and local is $800,000 per year,” said Forester at that time.
“So this is the state’s way of making the match that they need for their first year of operational costs — is that what you’re saying?” inquired magistrate David Kennedy.
“There’s $326,000 in carryover. There’s $400,000 of multi-county. Then there’s $274,000, $200,000 of which will go into construction, $74,000 will roll into that making the $800,000 that they’re looking for,” explained Grieshop. “That’s the match money, and then we’re not involved with their match anymore.”
Grieshop pointed out that “this is a state project, not a Harlan County project.”
“As it moves forward, it is not Harlan County that is obligated to do the match, — it is the state, because these kids are coming from out of the area. Some of them will come from West Virginia. Some of them will come from Tennessee, and all over the state of Kentucky. It is not a Harlan County driven project after we’re done with the building,” said Grieshop.
The court also discussed the issue of SEEK funds being made available to the ChalleNGe Academy.
“They (the state) had some debate with the school systems because they were looking for some of that SEEK money, which was on the table. Then there was some misunderstanding about it, so they had to work through it. But they plan on having SEEK money in play moving forward,” said Grieshop.
Grieshop pointed out that the existing school systems would not actually be losing any SEEK funds.
“There were some misunderstandings and they rushed it during the spring session. There were a lot of misunderstandings about the SEEK money. But it’s only right, if students move into this program and they’re getting an education. They were out of school. Out of the system. They fell out of the system. They come back into the system in this program,” said Grieshop. “That’s where the misunderstanding is.”
According to Grieshop, once the student is no longer enrolled, SEEK money is lost.
“The school system already lost the SEEK money on that student — they’re not part of the roll,” said Grieshop.
A motion was made and passed approving the resolution to apply for a grant from LGEDF.
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-573-4510 or firstname.lastname@example.org