CUDAHY — Elizabeth Street Elementary School is about to get an interior coat of paint, the first since it was remodeled more than a quarter of a century ago, according to Assistant Principal Judy Evans Holman.
The long-awaited paint job is one of a number of projects that 26 area schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District will be able to accomplish this year with money from a new state incentive fund for year-round schools.
Year-round schools have received extra money from the state for three years. But this year, district administrative consultant Gordon Wohlers said, the state raised the amount per student from $25 to a possible $150.
Districts receive the incentive money according to a complex formula that takes into account factors such as the need for construction and the cost of land. Schools get funds in proportion to their enrollment.
Unlike previous state incentive funds, most of this year's money can be used any way the schools see fit. School staff and community members decide how to spend the funds at each school.
"They've given us some incentive money before, for custodial services and cleaning," Holman said. However, "this is the first totally discretionary money we've received, and in such a large amount." The touch-up, she said, "is a nice start."
But that's not all the school will buy with its $72,000.
Teachers have been planning for several months to set up a media center, equipped with teaching aids that help children understand abstract concepts. Now, the school will be able to supply the center with up-to-date colored blocks and rods used in math classes, and other materials.
"We're competing with the media," Holman said. "We need things to motivate kids to do more independent learning. They can't just learn science from a textbook."
The district hopes to receive at least $4.9 million in incentive money for the rest of this fiscal year. Although the money has not come in from the state, the district has told individual schools how much they will get.
Wohlers said he expects the state to keep the higher incentive funds in its yearly education budgets.