A program designed to help under-privileged Carthage school students will move to a new home in the next few weeks.
The Carthage R-9 Board of Education and Ozark Tri-County Health Care Consortium, based in Anderson, came to an agreement that was finalized by the Carthage board on Thursday that transfers the former Carthage Community Clinic building at 800 S. Grant St. to the district for $1.
Superintendent Blaine Henningsen said the district will use the first floor of the building to house Bright Futures – Carthage, a program designed to guide community members to help less fortunate students of the school district.
Henningsen said the second floor is currently small offices and the district is looking into how to use it.
The building housed the Carthage Community Clinic until that organization closed its doors on June 15, 2010.
Scott Ragsdale, Pleasant Valley Principal and director of the Bright Futures – Carthage program, said having its own space will be a big boost.
Ragsdale said the Bright Futures snack pack program, known as the Hungry Tiger program, currently sends about 120 snack-filled backpacks and bags out to students whose families are poor enough that they may not get enough food over the weekend.
Volunteers pack snack foods into the bags and packs, which are given to the children on Friday. The students return the packs on Monday.
“We wanted to get the program in place and getting the community engaged was a big deal,” Ragsdale said. “Getting the backpack program up and running where everyone could contribute and help donate gave us our flagship program. Now we want to hire someone to help me out, using grant money and revamp our site councils of community members and businesses linked to each school and get them set up.”
Henningsen said the district had heard that the Health Care Consortium wanted to unload the building, so he and the board entered into negotiations with them.
The purchase was approved on Thursday at the regular board meeting, which was rescheduled because the group's normal third-Monday meeting day fell on Spring Break.
Henningsen said the top floor offices were too small to be used for student classes or programs, plus it was only accessible by a narrow staircase that was not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, limiting its usefulness to the district.
He said they move some offices there, but the space could also be used for storage.