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La Crosse teachers surprised with grants for projects aimed at helping students



Teachers around the La Crosse School District were surprised Thursday with Gold Star Grants from the La Crosse Public Education Foundation.

The grants, funding 27 projects for teachers among all buildings, are worth almost $44,000.

The foundation’s executive director David Stoeffler explained how a committee picks the winners.

“We ask the teachers to provide details on the proposal,” Stoeffler said. “Why it’s an innovative idea, and how many students it would serve. The committee judges on those factors.”

Fifty applicants applied for the grants, requesting more than $100,000.

Over 30 years ago, when the foundation started the program grants were about $500. Stoeffler said now a grant averages about $1,500 thanks to the community’s support.

“Primarily the foundation relies on fundraising from individuals and businesses,” Stoeffler said. “We do have some endowment funds that help with the program.”

After presenting their project to the foundation, teachers usually don’t hear about the final decision until a check is presented to them during the school day.

“We do these deliveries by surprise,” Stoeffler said. “A lot of times it’s not the amount of money, but the idea that someone looked at their idea as something worthy of funding.”

One grant is for $2,530 to purchase a washer and dryer for use by Logan High School students, so that those most vulnerable will be able to wear clean clothes on a daily basis.

Born in Decorah Iowa. I've been a news reporter for the last 10 years, starting right out of college in Fort Dodge, Iowa. Other professional opportunities led me to Marshalltown, Iowa and Antigo Wisconsin, before I finally was afforded the opportunity here in La Crosse. I've been here since 2016. I also act as the voice of local sports, doing play by play of high school and college football and basketball. When not working I enjoy golfing.

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