Next year, it's all about technology and science.

The Hillsboro Schools Foundation this week finished distributing more than $72,000 in grants for a dozen different projects designed by teachers in the Hillsboro School District.

The grants will fund programs — from setting up an engineering lab to an after-school robotics program to creating an in-school photography business — at 10 district schools next school year.

HSF volunteers raise money through a variety of events including an auction, a golf tournament and a phon-a-thon. Corporate sponsors News Seasons Market and First Tech Credit Union also help fund grants.

HSF Executive Director Aron Carleson said a majority of the proposals that were submitted were STEM-related (science, engineering, technology and math). The grant committee awarded fewer grants than in previous years, but each grant amount was generally higher (see accompanying story), ranging from $2,700 to $8,000.

At Tobias Elementary School, students will take an active role composting the school's food waste in a project called "Something's Rotten at Tobias."

Sixth-grade teachers Jennifer LeCorre and Andrea Schlechter, who already have a worm composting bin in their classroom, will set up a food composting system for the entire school.

Besides making the students more aware of the amount of food waste produced each day in the school's cafeteria, LeCorre and Schlechter will have students take an active role in weighing the waste, monitoring compost temperature and moving the compost from bin to bin.

The final product will be put into baggies for students to use on plants at home and around the school.

Formed in 2000, the Hillsboro Schools Foundation is a non-profit organization that strives to raise money to enhance education for Hillsboro students through a variety of grants and awards.

Hillsboro School District teachers apply for grants for creative, innovative and inventive programs they design.

To date, the foundation has donated more than $2.5 million to programs in the Hillsboro School District.

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