Archive for Thursday, March 5, 2009

Eudora Schools Foundation establishes fund

March 5, 2009

Just as high school sports teams are supported financially by parent-run organizations such as the 12th Man and the Diamond Club, the Eudora Schools Foundation supports students in Eudora USD 491.

The organization was founded in 2006 by former Superintendent Marty Kobza with the intent of enhancing the quality of education through partnerships with members of the community.

“The gifts and incomes that we receive, we’re going to return to the schools regularly and invest in the future,” ESF President Marion Johnson said.

At its most recent meeting, the foundation established the Honoring Teacher Excellence fund. The fund will allow a parent or former student to give a donation to the ESF in honor of a teacher who was important to them when they were going through school.

The minimum donation is $50 and the money will go toward trying to provide funds to teachers and students for programs that might not be funded through normal budget, Johnson said.

The funds will be given to teachers for grants each fall using a survey that they will fill out explaining their needs. The ESF board then will decide where the money will go.

“Maybe a teacher needs $200 for a classroom activity or project — our goal is to be able to fund those,” Johnson said. “But we’re a long ways from being able to fund $5,000 or $10,000 project.”

With impending budget cuts coming for the district, Superintendent Don Grosdidier said he valued the contributions made by the ESF — no matter the size. He did, however, temper his expectations.

“Please remember that our schools foundation is still in its infancy stage and not in a position to provide a lot of financial resources to lessen the pain of budget cuts,” Grosdidier said. “However, it is our hope that the foundation will grow and ultimately be able to provide resources that could aid in navigating the ups and downs of public school finance.”

The ESF does not meet regularly, but just as needed. It also hopes to offer scholarships, or even administer already established scholarships.

The organization still is in its infancy so there aren’t many members, which is something Johnson would like to see change.

“Anybody who wants to participate is more than welcome,” he said. “If they want to provide donations, if they have ideas for fundraisers — anything like that would be of benefit to us so that we ca begin to build up resources and we can begin to do some of the things the foundation would like to do for the district.

“This whole concept Mr. Kobza had was to make the school district better for students in ways the school board can’t because of the budget. To do that, we need participation from everybody in the district, whether they have students or they don’t.”

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