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Yonkers, A Magnet School Grants Mount Vernon

The state will award up to 25 to the large school districts and living in poverty to help them create new magnet school and other measures to increase the number of social and economic integration of children.

Yonkers and Mount Vernon are eligible for the pilot grants, which are funded through federal school improvement money and can total up to $1.25 million over three years. Yonkers can apply for grants for two schools and Mount Vernon can apply for one.

Ed Lawson, a grants manager for the Yonkers schools, said the Socioeconomic Integration Pilot Program grant will allow the district to improve its engagement with families and the community, one of the keys to effective schools. And by including funding for planning, the district will be able to figure out what model will work best for Yonkers, he said.

"The planning is a great opportunity for us to really assess where we are," he said.

The districts are being asked to design programs to improve the achievement of poor students and attract better-off ones. Potential models include dual-language programs, science, math and technology schools and arts programs.

Applications are due Feb. 13.

Along with creating in-district magnet schools, the districts could create inter-district magnet schools and allow students to transfer out of high-poverty schools.

The grants are available to districts with at least 10 schools with poverty rates of at least 60

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