Grants approved for Bay District Schools

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. — Hurricane Michael left behind millions of dollars of physical damage, and while the community continues to rebuild, hidden emotional scars still linger. “We get reports from teachers, counselors and administrators about the students talking about the struggles they continue to have,“ said Bay District Schools Assistant Superintendent Denise Kelley. But help is on the way, after the U.S. Department of Education approved a $1.2 million grant for Bay District Schools. “This feels like we’re breaking through some of the barriers we’ve had to receive,“ said Kelley. This “Project SERV” grant will be allocated to mental health initiatives that the school board is working to implement across schools in the next academic year. It can also be used for transportation, overtime for teachers and counselors as well as costs to operate schools at alternative sites. And that’s not the only grant that Bay District Schools has received this week, also getting a $200,000 check from the St. Joe Community Foundation. “They have awarded us enough money to hire two licensed clinicians to work in our schools,“ said Kelley. It’ll all work toward helping the students recover in body and mind. Bay District Schools says they will continue to apply for grants. “The funding that we’re getting is greatly appreciated and it is a step in the right direction,“ said Kelley.“But our students and our staff members have so many needs that we need additional support.“

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