Nearly 70 schools and community partners across the state will receive a portion of more than $18 million to fund programs for Oklahoma students. A Tulsa nonprofit will create a new after-school program benefitting Union middle school students.
The Oklahoma Department of Education is granting the Tulsa Debate League more than $145,000 over the coming years to create the program for Union's 6th and 7th-grade students. The state is giving the money through relief funding.
Organizers say the new program will have speech and debate, in addition to other activities to get students moving around and engaged in things like STEM. Money received from the grant will be used for staff compensation and transportation.
The Tulsa Debate League has been partners with Union since 2016. Organizers say the district approached them about becoming partners on the application for the grant.
"They felt there was a need, a need that was especially acute after the pandemic," said Ross Faith, executive director of the Tulsa Debate League. "So many kids had been virtual for a while, that had negative social impacts."
Other Green Country schools, including Tulsa Public, Bartlesville, Jenks and Glenpool are also recipients of the grants.