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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