Update from the Mississippi Safe Routes to School Program
Mississippi has certainly been busy with Safe Routes to School initiatives. For starters, they have awarded a total of 39 projects representing 31 communities and 87 schools. They have also had four statewide projects. In the most recent cycles, they awarded $2.5 million involving 12 communities, 26 schools and three statewide partners. The most recent awards were announced in September 2012, which brings their total amount awarded to date to $10.9 million. They have awarded both infrastructure and non infrastructure projects in communities around Mississippi. Sidewalk and crosswalk projects received the greatest amount of funding.
Statewide a walking school bus pilot program which has had some great success and is looking to be expanded as well as teacher training on K-8 Safe Routes to School lesson plans were funded. On the local level non-infrastructure funds will be used for education and encouragement programs mostly. An evaluation is required of every project.
Mississippi is looking to capture the title for the most participation once again for Walk to School Day/Month. In 2011, they were noted as having the highest participation in the country by the National Center for Safe Routes to School based on registration information. It will speak volumes for the type of the positive impact Safe Routes to School is making on the statewide community.
For more information on the Mississippi Safe Routes to School program, please contact Cookie Leffler, SRTS coordinator, at 601-359-1454 or visit the program website. For more information on the Mississippi Safe Routes to School state network project, contact Jay Thompson, state advocacy organizer, firstname.lastname@example.org.