State funding for Columbia’s shared services agreement with ELANCO has apparently fallen through. Dr. Robert Hollister, superintendent of Columbia Borough School District, made the announcement at January’s Committee of the Whole meeting. The statement was in response to Board Director Kathleen Hohenadel’s question regarding the status of the grant. The anticipated funding is for an amount up to $250,000 for up to three years to pilot the program and was to have come from the PA Department of Education.
Hollister said he has not gotten a response from Senator Ryan Aument’s office, despite several inquiries. ”I’ve not heard a thing. That’s not good news,” he said.
Hollister asked residents to contact legislators, but was not overly optimistic. “Phone calls always help, but the other side of that story is this state is in dire financial consequences. I’m operating as if that money is not going to show up,” he said.
The grant was previously discussed by former Superintendent Ken Klawitter at Columbia’s August 2016 Committee of the Whole meeting. Klawitter said the bill authorizing the grant was the first of its kind in Pennsylvania. “They wrote it specifically for us, because we were the first ones legally to do this,” he said. He added that he had received an autographed copy of the bill and a signature pen indicating funding would be made available to pilot the program.