Writing to your Legislature for funding

Our team just tried this for the 1st time, not expecting to get anything, thinking it was a longshot.
Well, to our surprise, we got quite a huge amount to renovate our robotics facilities (furniture, equipment upgrade, electrical upgrade, and technology).
Most importantly, its monies that is pretty flexible and open where other strict funding sources and grants cannot cover other than for student learning.
We plan to also upgrade the media center (video production) and graphics program, which indirectly supports our program by training our students in the STEM career pathway.
It was under the Hawaii State Government HB200 initiative. :smiley:

Would it be possible for you to publish the letter, Glenn? It would be helpful to see the content of such a letter. Gracias.:slight_smile:

We were supposed to set up a meeting with our representative but with school and scheduling we weren’t able to. It’s on our list of things to do for off-season. It would be great to see what you guys wrote so we could get ideas for any letters we may be sending out. Great idea and awesome job!

It would be best if you folks look at your school needs and work with your representative/senator on what it should entail.
Ours was about 10 pages long.
Just send me a PM request, and I can send parts of it.

We were awarded $750,000 for the 2010-11 School Year. Not sure on the details yet.
My biggest question was if we had to spend it all during '10-'11.

Because part of my “day” job includes purchases and coordinating programs in our complex, I am familiar with large purchases, sending jobs out for bid, and managing projects. Spending the funds will take some time following Hawaii procurement laws.
In 2005, I purchased a 14 passenger Robotics bus that was custom-ordered from the mainland shipped to Hawaii. :wink:
That process alone took me almost 8 months to get.

On another note, I would look into funding sources directly tied to the federal stimulus package.
Hawaii got about 91 million in which part was allocated to afterschool programs called ELO, Extended Learning Opportunities. It wont cover equipment/supplies, but pay teacher’s $35/hour to work with students during the summer and next school year.
Robotics would be a perfect fit as it can be considered an after-school program.

Glenn-

Congratulations! That is awesome!

Since you mentioned that the grant came from state funds, it is quite likely that they are current-year funds. Typically, these funds must be spent before the end of the next fiscal year, so you have about a 15 months before they expire. But this is definitely one of the first things you want to check out.

Either way, that is a significant chunk of money, and spending it wisely may actually be a problem - particularly if you have to do it within a single fiscal year. You could certainly buy a whole truckload of these:

(You have to wonder just how many sets of gold-plated tools does someone really need? :slight_smile: )

But seriously, this could be a great opportunity for your to become your own funding agency. You could issue sub-grants to other Hawai’i teams, and use the funds to improve the competition robot fabrication facilities across the entire state. Just imagine the aggregate improvement that could be realized by 15 teams with $50,000 each to improve their facilities. This could all be accomplished under an umbrella project run by The Hawai’ian Kids, and you could use the opportunity to do things like:

  • design a “standard robot shop” utilized by all the Hawai’ian teams (which would help promote familiarity and cooperation between teams, since all the teams would be using a similar set-up)

  • add a significant “business experience” to the team, by letting them define, create, and implement a process to select and fund the sub-grants (which would be excellent material for the Entrepreneurship Award)

I am sure that you guys have lots of great ideas on how to put the funds to good use. Keep us posted on how the whole experience progresses, and what you end up doing. And again, congratulations on a job well done to get the state funding!

-dave

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WOW…you guys have inspired us once again, Glenn. Guess I know what I will be doing this summer! And I like Dave’s suggestions too…but how about if you stretch your geographic boundaries to Las Vegas?:wink:

I’ve often considered Washington state to be part of the Hawaiian islands… we’re just missing some sun, some sand, and a Leonard’s Malasadas store. :wink:

Nice work Glenn. Your team is blessed with your experience and efforts. It’ll be nice to hear if other teams are as successful at obtaining such funds.

docs sent out to the email requests.
Hope all of you pursuing it can get additional support.
Seems like now is not a good time for many States, including ours actually.

Our governor is making a huge announcement today on how she is going to cut 184 million from all State depts, including the DOE. That’s a lot for a small State and in addition to what has already been cut.
All of our C&C services/fees/taxes are skyrocketing. Schools are going to be hit with price hikes in lunches, bus fares, etc.
Tourism in Hawaii has hit an all-time low since its been documented in 1987.

I personally hate the whole federal stimulus package bailout as it just sinks us deeper in debt. However, if they’re going to give it out, why not get as much as we can for education purposes?

Dave,
thanks for the compliment. We certainly are looking to help more teams in whatever ways we can. We cant pay for other team’s costs directly, but we certainly can lend materials, tooling, and space for teams to build their robots.
Here is a link to what we got, on page 192.

-Glenn