Partnership results in $30,000 for books for StartSmart
Senator Hugh Leatherman announced a partnership between the state, Florence School District One and the Florence School Foundation which resulted in $30,000 to purchase 8,000 books for the District’s Start 2 Read program. The announcement was made during a press conference on Feb. 8 at the Child Development Center at Woods Road.
Start 2 Read is part of the StartSMART Program which is designed to give parents resources they need to prepare their children for kindergarten through interactive school-readiness quizzes, developmental timelines and resources for parents, including checklists, links and videos. “This program is about investing in children at an early age,” said Senator Leatherman.
“That investment will have a positive impact throughout our region, not only for our education system, but for our economy, as well. Putting the right building blocks in place is vital for setting students on a path for success. It’s clear this program is accomplishing that goal in Florence by providing the right kinds of tools for parents and children in our community.” Leatherman praised Start 2 Read noting it has distributed 15,000 books to local pre-school children during a three-year period.
Through this program, 2,000 children now have a book library in their home of seven books. He mentioned that he has recommended that the state look at this early childhood initiative which was developed here. When he learned the school district was out of books to distribute, Leatherman said he was delighted to help. He decided to “make a deal” with the school district and school foundation, asking each to donate $10,000.
They readily agreed, he said Leatherman followed up on his end of the deal by presenting a check for $10,000 last Monday afternoon to help support the StartSMART program. The total commitment of $30,000 will purchase 8,000 books for this program, he said. School Board chairman Porter Stewart commented that “anytime we can make a deal where we end up paying 33 cents on the dollar to buy books for children who are most in need in our community, that is a great deal.”
Porter said he was proud that this local program was being proposed statewide. “They can come down and visit anytime,” he stated. Dr. Floyd Creech, director of the district’s Early Childhood program, said he was thrilled with the partnership and support of the StartSMART program. Following the press conference, Leatherman toured the Child Development Center and visited several classrooms