Keep the RIF program in Grand Rapids Public Schools!

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Literacy is important which is why Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) gives books to every GRPS pre-k through 5th grade student.

Information from the RIF/GRPS Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/RIFGRPS-337757152449/ states that RIF is a nationwide organization that provides brand new, high quality books to underserved populations of children at no charge to them. Locally they operate out the Grand Rapids Public Schools and service some 10,000 preschool through 5th grade students three times per year.

Research has proven that students who own their own books have higher levels of literacy. A higher level of literacy leads to improvement in all subject areas. Book ownership is one of the most basic and proven elements to helping a child succeed in school.

Many of our GRPS students do not have access to books in their home, nor do they own any books themselves. RIF helps to bridge this gap by bringing books and literacy resources into the homes of children and families who are most in need. In GRPS they provide three books per year to every child ages pre-K through 5th grade. With 10,000 pre-K through 5th grade students this equals nearly 30,000 books per year.

According to the recent MLIVE article written by Monica Scott, http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2017/06/rif_program_to_be_discontinued.html 

Neal said the district has not received funding to support the program in years. She said the fund balance being used to operate the program was depleted this school year.

The 2011-2012 school year was the last time the national RIF organization provided funding for books, according to the GRPS Business Services Department. The district received $53,898 for book purchases - 75 percent of the total cost.

The program, which distributes books three times a year to students, has a coordinator who is paid approximately $50,000 in salary and benefits. 

"Without a grant, we just don't have the dollars," Neal told the school board during a recent work session about the planned budget cut. "We will continue to support children with our reading materials."

I'd also like to point out that The United Way recently stopped funding Schools of Hope which is an early literacy tutoring program. With the loss of Schools of Hope, and the loss of RIF, we are quickly running out of ways to support our many GRPS students in need.

If you disagree with the GRPS decision to cut the RIF program, please let them know by signing and sharing this petition. 

Thank you.



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