School Board Discusses Role of Fundraising Organization

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Thursday January 26, 2012

A fundraising organization that once identified a project aimed at increasing technology in the District, is likely to receive greater focus as the School Board looks at its role.

During the South Burlington School Board’s meeting last week, Superintendent David Young described the South Burlington Schools’ Foundation’s role as one that accepts donations and then applies the funds as needed in the District. Originally formed as a 501(c)3, representatives who sat on the panel included SBHS principal Patrick Burke, former Superintendent John Everitt, SBHS Alumni & Development Director Joanne Abate, School Board member Martin LaLonde, former SBHS teacher Tim Comolli, as well as community members Matt Guyette (guidance counselor at FHTMS) and Jon Pizzagalli.  The Foundation Board has not met recently. LaLonde said that the group had hoped to jump start a project to increase technology in South Burlington and thought funds could be earmarked for the hiring of a technology czar, but the plan failed to get off the ground. Another setback for the group occurred when one of the panel members, who is a District employee, went from working full-time to a part-time position.

During the discussion, Young said he sought “clarity” about the group and called the representatives who sit on the panel “wonderful people.”

School Board Chairman Richard Cassidy agreed with Young’s assessment, adding he felt the Foundation’s role needed to be “understood” in the District. He went on to ask if Board members wanted to have a joint meeting with the group. School Director Diane Bugbee agreed with Cassidy, noting, “we need some basis for understanding.”

Meanwhile, Cassidy said the District’s fund raising needs must be defined and the ability to support projects should be clarified before outreach for money starts. He went on to note that colleges and graduate schools build relationships with alumni, seeking funding for projects. He suggested that the South Burlington School District could form such a relationship with its graduates.

The Board is expected to discuss the matter during its February 1 meeting.

SOURCE: Gail Callahan, Correspondent