Tampa Bay public TV stations gets $135,000 for drop out prevention from Corporaton for Public Broadcasting
Six public television stations in Florida will receive about $360,000 in funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, under a new program aimed at improving the nation’s high school graduation rates.
The Tampa Bay area’s two public TV stations, WEDU-Ch. 3 and WUSF-Ch. 16, will receive the largest share of Florida’s money, splitting $135,000 between them.
The two stations, once rivals, collaborated on a joint grant proposal targeting school districts in Polk, Hillsborough and Pinellas counties with on air announcements, programs describing the problems and a teacher town hall meeting, among other initiatives. According to the stations’ proposal, those districts are three greatest at-risk school systems in their coverage area.
But because the two Tampa stations received less than the $200,000 originally requested, organizers must revamp their original proposals.
“Because Florida has such a huge dropout crisis, we want to put together the right plan,” said Laura Fage, a spokeswoman for WEDU. “The good news is the CPB saw Florida needed help.”
In January, Education Week ranked Florida’s graduation rates 44th in the country, using its own formula (though it also ranked the state’s education system 5th overall, mostly because it is improving). In its joint application, WEDU and WUSF noted the state had 100,000 students who did not graduate high school in 2009, with their lost earnings estimated at $27 billion.
Overall, the CPB is granting $4.4-million to 20 communities across the country in its American Graduate program, aimed at targeting areas where the dropout crisis is most acute. The agency announced the national initiative earlier this week with a press conference featuring former Ugly Betty star American Ferrara and CSI: NY star Hill Harper, among others.
In Florida, the list of stations also receiving grants includes: WFSU in Tallahassee ($75,000), WJCT in Jacksonville ($60,000), WLRN in Miami ($60,000), WCEU in Daytona Beach ($30,000). The stations also plan to coordinate activities across the state and contribute material to PBS and NPR.