Just 11% of Black students in grades 3-8 at Asheville City Schools scored as proficient in math, with 13% proficient in reading. Rates were somewhat better in the county system, with 21% of Black pupils proficient in both subjects, but still fell well below those of white, Hispanic and Asian students.
Eighteen nonprofits aiding mountain residents with services like housing, diapers, food, the arts, education and advocacy receiving more than $13.9 million of Buncombe County’s ARPA funding.
Made up of 18 community partners, the network would be convened and coordinated by the United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County
The funds, equal to roughly a quarter of budgeted property tax revenue for the current fiscal year and more than its budgeted spending on general government administration, represent by far the largest pot of federal support yet provided to the county during the pandemic.
County government only plans to keep about $3 million of the state allocation; the remainder would be distributed to Buncombe’s municipalities and fire districts using the same formula as for county sales tax. Asheville would receive roughly $944,000, or 21% of the money, with the Skyland Fire District receiving the next largest award of nearly $67,000, or 1.5%.
Commissioner Amanda Edwards and Rachael Nygaard, the county’s director of strategic partnerships, proposed substantial revisions for Buncombe’s approach to Strategic Partnership Grants. The changes, which will likely be put to a vote on Tuesday, Nov. 5, included the establishment of a volunteer grant review committee, strict adherence to deadlines and standardized criteria for judging applications.
County department heads pointed to an organizational culture of cliques and anxiety at a meeting with Buncombe County commissioners on Sept. 4.
Local nonprofits compete for city and county grant funding every year. Xpress looks at the funding programs available and what nonprofits must do to be considered.
A group that’s receiving funding from Buncombe County’s Isaac Coleman Community Investment Grants has been instructed to take corrective action after discontinuing one component of its programming, a masonry skills job training course. County staff says it is working with United Community Development to find a solution.
An diverse and influential group looks to incrementally implement universal preschool in Buncombe County. Xpress takes an in-depth look at the organization, logistics and potential costs behind the effort.