BLOOMING PRAIRIE — Students in Blooming Prairie Preschool will benefit from what officials say are valuable updates during the coming school year, thanks to some new grant funding.

During his report to the Blooming Prairie School Board on Monday, Blooming Prairie Elementary School Principal Chris Staloch informed the board that the district had received a grant of nearly $13,000 from the Otto Bremer Foundation. The application for the grant was made at the end of the 2012-13 school year.

“We got the information about the grant from the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation. Rae Jean Hanson (Early Childhood Senior Program officer with the foundation) is someone who we are in contact with quite a bit and she does a great job of helping us find some of these grants,” Staloch said on Wednesday. “We decided to look at some of the needs in our preschool, and we had some out-of-date equipment and we had some technology needs that we needed to update.

“We sat down — the preschool staff, our special education coordinator and myself — and we came up with some ideas on how could improve our preschool program and some of the things that we offer them.”

The grant funds will be used to provide updates to the preschool, including about $7,000 that would go into technology upgrades for preschool students, including the purchase of iPads. Remaining funds will be used to update items like carpeting, tables, chairs, kitchen sets and other items that were out of date and were in “rough shape,” Staloch said.

Blooming Prairie’s grant was one of 96 grants awarded by the Otto Bremer Foundation in July.

According to a news release from the foundation, the grants totaled nearly $5 million in Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin. Staloch said the grant is a positive thing for the district.

“When we look at our preschool funding, and we do not receive much state or federal funds when it comes to preschool funding, we’re always looking for ways to improve or programming and improve what we can offer,” Staloch said. “Getting the opportunity to get roughly $13,000 from the Otto Bremer Foundation is just amazing.”

Staloch said the purchasing orders for the upgrades funded by the grant have already been made and all of the items should be available to the students early on in the coming school year.

Reach reporter Al Strain at 444-2376 or follow him on Twitter.com@OPPalstrain

Reach reporter Al Strain at 444-2376 or follow him on Twitter.com@OPPalstrain

I am a reporter for the Owatonna People's Press covering cops, courts, the city beat, business, agriculture and features. I graduated from Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa in May of 2012. While in college I majored in Communication Arts with an emphasis

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