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Commissioners voice support for LaGrange County Promise
Monday Aug 18, 2014 11:58am
County Office Building • LaGrange, IN

By: Tim Murray

LAGRANGE – A program designed to change the culture of post-secondary education in LaGrange County won support from county commissioners this morning.

They supported a proposal to financially contribute to the LaGrange County Promise, but the amount and source of that support will need further direction from the LaGrange County Council.

Commission President Jac Price suggested the county contribute $15 per child that registers for an education savings account. Price recommended the county fund that support with interest earned by the Major Moves account.

Commissioner Garry Heller wanted to increase the amount to $25 per child – the same amount that Parkview Health is contributing.

Commissioner Larry Miller said his support for the idea has limits.

"I'm not saying I don't support it. I do not support taking it out of Major Moves money, and my recommendation would also be to give it to Council and let them decide where they want to fund it from," Miller said.

Parkview's Jen Will says even more than promoting savings is the idea of getting youngsters in grades K thru 3 to believe advanced education is something they can attain.

"It's really trying to change the culture and give some of these kids who, based on home life experiences, you know, maybe no one in their family has attended college or gotten certifications or additional training, getting to these kids in these K thru 3 grades setting that expectation. Giving them the mindset that this is achievable in the family, and then working with these families long term to help them better plan and then internally set that expectation for their child that they want something better for them," said Will.

The county's I-T Director, Bob Murphy, is a Lakeland School Board member. He said educational attainment directly contributes to economic development.

"Two things here, number one that this is something that the schools systems themselves are going to want to see succeed, because this is the type of program that, over the long term, makes the numbers that schools live and breathe by better. And if you think that education isn't directly tied to economic development, you're living 25 or 30 years ago. It definitely has a direct tie now," said Murphy.

LaGrange is one of three pilot counties in the state.

The Commissioners voted to support the idea and send it to County Council for their input.

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