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BHK may lose AmeriCorps funding

December 11, 2012
By SCOTT VIAU - DMG writer ( , The Daily Mining Gazette

HOUGHTON - After months of financial problems, BHK schools may have another obstacle to face - it is in danger of losing its AmeriCorps funding for the 2013-14 school year.

According to BHK Executive Director Pat Rozich, as of now, the money is gone, but there is a possibility it might be retrieved.

"That alone is a loss of $602,000," Rozich said.

Rozich added the money was lost was due to a funding decision. Rozich said the reason he was given included "difficult discussions about what they could realistically fund."

An organization in Duluth, Minn., contacted Rozich and offered to write a multi-state grant that could possibly get the money back, but Rozich is unsure of just how many people he'd be able to fund through the multi-state grant.

"I need at least 30 to keep my local schools happy," Rozich said.

There are 46 people funded through the AmeriCorps grant. If the grant is not renewed, those people will still have their positions until the end of August.

"They'll serve their year," Rozich said. "All that money is guaranteed right now."

People funded through the AmeriCorps grant are sometimes placed in the preschool program, where they are assigned to kids with special needs. If AmeriCorps-funded people are no longer there, the children may not receive the attention they need, Rozich said.

Despite losing the grant, Rozich is optimistic about its future.

"We'll come back," Rozich said. "The schools aren't going to let us drop this ball. It's going to leave a giant hole in operations. Hopefully, we won't be (without the grant) for more than a year."

Recently, BHK completed its phase I round of cuts, which aims to put BHK on more financially stable ground. Phase II is the next step, which may include more cuts and the selling of real estate.

"Phase II is going to be very minor adjustments," Rozich said. "Once we sell a couple of properties that's going to bring us in significant money."

Part of the properties BHK has to sell includes the Moyer building, which was recently appraised at $395,000 by Century 21 North Country Agency.

"The day is gone where we can afford to have space just sitting empty," Rozich said. "We have to consolidate for a while."



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