The Tehachapi Unified School District board on Feb. 26 approved applying to the state for two block grants totaling up to $600,000 to provide additional classroom help for low-performing students.

“The money is there. We just have to turn in a plan to receive money from the state. It's $300,000 for next year and $300,000 for the following year,” said Bonny Porter, secondary coordinator of learning and achievement for TUSD. “This grant is particularly for students who do not receive funds from our supplemental accounts, which are our unduplicated students, meaning they are not low income, foster, English learners or homeless students.”

The funding would help hire nine teacher para educators or teacher aides for Cummings Valley Elementary, Golden Hills Elementary, Tompkins Elementary, Jacobsen Middle School and Tehachapi High School to work with students individually or in a group. The block grant will also help instructional services provide development or training opportunities for math educators at the district and school supplies.

Board member Nancy Weinstein asked how the money would paid to the district.

Melissa Kielpinski, chief administrator of business, said some funds had already been received from the district and this was an existing grant.

Board Vice President Leonard Evansic said, “I think this is something we sorely need.”

The State School Fund allocates more than $300 million for the Low-Performing Students Block Grant to help local educational agencies provide education services and was started in fiscal year 2018-2019, according to leginfo.legislature.ca.gov.