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OPINION: All about PEECh season

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

Chilton County has two peach seasons.

One brings delicious fruit, while the other brings funding to local classrooms.

The Chilton Education Foundation has recently completed presenting its Partners Enhancing Education in Chilton County (PEECh for short) grants to local teachers.

While perhaps not as well-known as its edible counterpart, PEECh season brings excitement and smiles to educators and students alike.

Each year, I enjoy seeing teachers’ faces when the checks are presented. For many, the visit from the PEECh committee comes as a surprise.

This year’s grants included everything from virtual reality technology to books.

The grants represent just the beginning of new experiences for students. Many of the grants fund new resources and equipment. Others support existing programs at the schools.

Since 1997, the Chilton Education Foundation has awarded 885 grants, representing $526,236 in funding.

The program is a prime example of the generosity of Chilton County as all the funds are from donations.

Applications are accepted from every local public school, and the board of directors makes an effort to spread available funds to each area of the county.

This year, the foundation received 56 applications and awarded 32 grants.

There are certain guidelines teachers or teams of teachers must follow to be considered. The application must be on time and must be for an individual project that requires one-time funding or new teaching materials.

According to the grant application guidelines, “Funding is not available for building repairs or furnishings; textbooks, band or athletic uniforms, musical instruments and other materials furnished by the school system or booster groups; or consumable supplies such as papers, markers and pens.”

Teachers can apply for up to $1,000, while teams of three or more teachers can apply for up to $1,500.

The foundation also has accountability measures in place. Teachers sign for the check when it is received and submit documentation to the foundation.