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Ory gets federal funding

Rebecca Burk Ellis / L’Observateur / July 17, 1998

EDGARD – St. John the Baptist Parish will have it’s second federally-funded magnet school beginning Aug. 1. Superintendent Cleveland Farlough told school board members Thursday night he had just gotten word that the grant for John L. Ory CommunicationArts Magnet School was accepted.

Farlough said he and several central office administrators went to Washington D.C. last month to meet with Sen. John Breaux. “It paid off,” hesaid. “Our trip was worthwhile and definitely successful.”Wilbert Ocmond, director of elementary education, said the grant requested $714,000 for the first year, and $502,803 was granted.

But that figure doesn’t have administrators disheartened. Ocmond saidthat Garyville/Mt. Airy Math and Science Magnet School’s first year wasonly funded for 50 percent of what its grant requested.

Ocmond said although administrators felt positive the grant would be funded, he said points were stacked against them because the parish already received funding for one magnet school.

“Any additional program is always tough,” he said. “We thought we had agood chance, though. And I feel very confident that the visit to thesenator’s office had a lot to do with that.”He said one point brought to Breaux’s attention was the fact that Louisiana only received 1 percent of the magnet funds awarded since the program’s inception 10 years ago, whereas New York received 26 percent of the funds.

Ocmond said it’s almost a guarantee that the next two years will also be federally-funded for John L. Ory Magnet School. “It’s always a three-yearcycle,” he said.

He said the school system is lucky to have the opportunity to have two magnet schools back to back.

“We are very fortunate to be able to do this, and we are very excited about the grant,” Ocmond said. “It was good news for us at the central office.”

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