Pelham working to form schools foundationPublished 11:39am Thursday, November 21, 2013
By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor
Pelham leaders are looking to give the city’s upcoming school system a “permanent, steady source of funding for the extra things we want to do” by forming a foundation to support the city school system.
Before voting to appoint the five members of the city’s first Board of Education on Nov. 18, City Council members discussed plans to establish the foundation.
“I think this is a natural part of the progression as we move forward,” Councilman Ron Scott said of the foundation. “A foundation is a vehicle put together to ensure your school has a steady stream of funding for the areas you prioritize.”
Scott distributed information on Vestavia Hills City Schools’ education foundation, and said the foundation “is doing a great job” there.
If established, the Pelham education foundation would be separate from the Pelham school system, and would have its own board of directors. Scott and City Council president Rick Hayes said multiple school board candidates who were not appointed to the school board were interested in serving on the foundation’s board in the future.
“We were so impressed with the (school board) candidates, and we don’t want to lose the energy and positive inertia we have going,” Hayes said. “Some (school board candidates) are perfect for this.”
Through the foundation, businesses and individuals will be able to make tax-deductible donations to benefit the city’s schools. The foundation will then invest the donations in an attempt to grow the foundation’s funds.
“There is a policy about what the dollars can be invested in, so there’s no risky investments,” Scott said.
The foundation’s board of directors would provide regular financial updates to the city’s Board of Education, Scott said.
“(The foundation) will have to have some very strong financial oversight,” Scott said.
Foundation money would be used to help fund professional development for school staff members, technology and other classroom enhancements, Scott said.
Teachers and school administrators also would be able to apply for grants from the foundation on a case-by-case basis, Scott said.