By Joe Gulick Avalanche-Journal
At a time when Texas school districts are facing funding cuts from the state, the Shallowater Education Foundation was recently formed to support the Shallowater Independent School District.
The foundation will raise money from tax-deductible contributions and will provide grants for programs, training and tools to strengthen and enrich the district, Superintendent Phil Warren said.
“The foundation won’t set the direction for the school district, but it will support that direction,” Warren said.
Expected funding cuts from the state will create a leaner school district, which will have to function on a tighter budget, meaning the possibility of cutting programs along the way, Warren said.
“As a result of budget cuts, we may be forced to do less in the classroom,” said Shallowater school board president David Blackburn. “We hope the foundation will be able to fill some of the voids.”
The Shallowater ISD received a districtwide exemplary rating last year, and school district officials want to continue what is working successfully.
Foundation president Lloyd Cabellero said the organization has yet to begin funding.
“We are working to get it off the ground and running,” he said. “At our next meeting, we are going into the specifics for each area of the foundation.
“We’re to the point of organizing the board of directors,” Warren said.
Blackburn and school district trustee Camie Davis will join Warren on the board of directors.
Other members of the board will come from the community, Blackburn said.
“We want the foundation to be independent, and I think we will be able to do that with the structure we have,” Blackburn said.
Warren said he tried to organize a foundation twice before but ran into legal issues and other barriers.
A company called Foundation Innovation made the difference this time, he said.
Foundation Innovation develops foundations for school districts through an encompassing process that covers the many details involved.
A Foundation Innovation representative came to the Region 17 Education Service Center to make presentations to school districts, and Shallowater was the only district among the 59 districts in the region that was interested, Warren said.
The Pioneer Foundation, which is promoting the organization of foundations in school districts with enrollments under 1,500 students, provided a $20,000 grant to Foundation Innovation to set up Shallowater’s foundation, he said.
Four school districts in Region 16 were interested in setting up foundations. Region 16 is north of Region 17 and includes Amarillo, so Shallowater foundation members drive to Amarillo about every two months for a meeting about the organizational process.
Blackburn said community involvement is the most important part of the foundation, especially in a community where so many people are eager to help the school district.
“The establishment of the education foundation will provide an excellent opportunity for community involvement in our schools,” he said.
Warren said the process of organizing fundraising events for the foundation probably would not begin until September or October.
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with the current economic hardship facing schools, community members are stepping up
-- A group of prominent community leaders have come together to for a foundation to support Shallowater ISD schools. The Shallowater Education Foundation has announced their focus to support educational excellence and promote community engagement in the Shallowater Independent School District.
The sole purpose of the newly formed Education Foundation is to benefit Shallowater Independent School District by providing funds for educational programs and activities which are not funded by the normal operating budget. School Board President, David Blackburn, explains that, “I am honored to serve with the Shallowater Education Foundation Board of Directors as we seek to support and enhance educational programs in our school district. The establishment of the Education Foundation will provide an excellent opportunity for community involvement in our schools.”
These funds will be used to strengthen and enrich learning though the support of innovative programs and provide additional tools to prepare students for future success. Funding priorities will also include funds to support additional training and resources for educators of the Shallowater Independent School District. Additional goals include: Inspiring parents and community members to participate with the school system to enrich education and building community support and positive attention for the Shallowater Independent School District.
The idea for the foundation grew from a need for supplemental funds and the awareness of a growing number of education foundations serving West Texas schools districts. A firm specializing in developing foundations partnered with Shallowater ISD to help ensure that the first year goals and objectives were met. Having worked with many other communities and school district in the state and nationally, Foundation innovation, LLC was well prepared for the challenges that forming an education foundation presents.
According to Lloyd Caballero, Foundation Board President, “We are blessed to live in a community that supports our school in all areas. Everyone wants their child to have the best possible education. As a board, we are all excited about the opportunity to get involved and give back to our school.” With a volunteer board of directors in place, the foundation is eager to support teaching excellence and academic achievement.
The Shallowater Education Foundation is a charitable organization and contributions to the organization will be tax deductible.
Foundation Board Members will archive and document the Foundations progress and programs here.