Roaring Fork education foundation may get back to its roots
June 15, 2011
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – A nonprofit fundraising arm for Roaring Fork District Re-1 schools is exploring at least a partial return to the original community-based education foundation concept.
Several years ago, what had been separate public education foundations operating in each of the communities served by the Re-1 school district – Carbondale, Basalt and Glenwood Springs – merged under the districtwide Roaring Fork Public Education Foundation.
The broader foundation has been able to function with varying degrees of success to provide grants to individual schools in the three communities, and to individual classroom teachers who wrote grant proposals.
But there’s still a desire for each community to have its own, localized private fundraising presence, said current foundation board president Phil Weir of Glenwood Springs.
The idea would be to decentralize and establish sub-groups working to raise money in each of the three communities, but maintain the district-wide foundation as an umbrella organization to concentrate on the larger needs of the school district.
“We are still talking about how it would work, but we did come to an agreement that it’s something we want to move toward,” Weir said.
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“It’s sometimes hard to go out and raise money from a Glenwood Springs donor, because they don’t necessarily want 60 percent of what they give to go to Carbondale and Basalt,” he said.
By giving each community the opportunity to raise money for their own local schools, each can have its own level of buy-in when it comes to donations, he said.
That way, the broader foundation can also focus on some of the bigger-picture fundraising goals of the district. It would also free the foundation up to take a role in supporting mill levy and bond issue proposals in the future.
The Re-1 school district is likely to include a mill levy override question on the November ballot this year, in an effort to make up some of the funding lost through recent state education budget cuts.
“We really need to inform people out there about what is going on in the public schools,” said Weir, who is also planning a run for the Re-1 school board this fall. “If we don’t pass this mill levy, we’re looking at losing some 50 teachers next year.”
The foundation board is working with consultants on the reorganization plan, which it is hoping to finalize in time for the foundation’s usual fall grant cycle, Weir said.