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Mar 31

Changes make program more accessible and equitable for citizens across Johnson County and beyond

Posted on March 31, 2022 at 3:41 PM by Becky Burnside

Revisions to the JCPRD scholarship policy were approved by the Board of Park and Recreation Commissioners at its regular board meeting on Feb. 16. 

These changes were approved for 2022 policy and take effect immediately. The revisions are meant to make the scholarship program more accessible and equitable for citizens across Johnson County and beyond.  

Key revisions include:

  • A qualifying individual may now receive $100 per calendar year and use it towards any JCPRD class, event, or rental.  There are no longer restrictions on how the dollars may be used.
  • In addition to Johnson County residents, scholarships may now be applied for by those who live outside Johnson County but work in Johnson County.
  • Income verification is a condition of receiving scholarship funding. This is achieved for public school students through the free and reduced lunch verification process. For families and individuals outside of the public school setting, it was approved that the Kansas Department of Education reduced-price status be used as an alternate method for income eligibility to insure consistency and equity across all users.
  • The scholarship budget was increased to $20,000 per year to support families/individuals in need.  Additional funding will be provided by The Parks and Recreation Foundation of Johnson County through the Equity+ and Access For All Fund.

Superintendent of Culture Susan Mong, who spearheaded the efforts to revise the policy, commented on the intent of the changes. 

“JCPRD has streamlined the income verification guidelines tying all qualifications to the Kansas Department of Education’s guidelines under reduced lunch status,” she explained. “The improved policy also adds a new allowance for unusual circumstances like job loss or other short term traumatic events that an individual or family may experience. The improved scholarship policy removes all programming restrictions allowing our patrons to apply up to $100 annually to  any event, program, or service that is most meaningful to them.”  

She also commented on JCPRD scholarship resources being made available not only to individuals who live in Johnson County, but to those who work in the county as well. 

“Prior guidelines required residential status,” Mong explained. “JCPRD knows that many of our patrons live in adjacent counties but contribute to the local economy and its quality as part of the Johnson County workforce. JCPRD is pleased to extend this access.  This allows us to serve people in real time during challenging circumstances. JCPRD has doubled its budget for scholarships and is proud to share that The Parks and Recreation Foundation of Johnson County also has a focused fundraising effort to increase funding.  JCPRD also plans to make sure this resource is promoted appropriately to connect to those most in need.”   

See the income eligibility guidelines for scholarships or apply for JCPRD scholarships.