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School foundation to sponsor activities

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

ALTON -- Due to state and federal budget cuts and higher operation costs, many Missouri schools are having to find alternative methods to provide the best education possible for their students. As a result, school districts across the state have established school foundations.

The Alton School Foundation is sponsoring a trio of activities in conjunction with the annual alumni meeting on May 24.

A Run/Walk will kick off the day's events at 7:30 a.m. near the Tucker Creek Park.

At 10 a.m. in the hall at the high school, trophies dating from 1925 through 1948 and from the 1952-53, 1957-58, 1962-63, 1967-68, 1972-73, 1977-78 and 1982-83 school years will be offered for sale at a silent auction. Viewing and bidding on the approximately 90 trophies will continue until 6 p.m.

Also at 10 a.m., the Foundation Cookbook, a collection of favorite recipes submitted by current and former staff of the R-IV School Systems will go on sale for $15 each at the high school. Myrtle Little has been the coordinator of this project and has put together a large collection of recipes in an attractive and durable publication.

The proceeds of these projects will go towards helping meet the Foundation's $20,000 goal to be raised this year which will be used to upgrade the elementary computer lab and to buy a smart board for a high school classroom. Keeping technology updated is an ongoing challenge for the school district. The Alton School Foundation's mission is "Giving today to ensure our children's tomorrow," and Heiskell said, "This project is doing just that."

In October 2007, a group of local patrons met and established the Alton R-IV Public School Foundation. There are nine members comprising the Foundation Board of Directors. They include: Brenda Ledgerwood, Larry Rowe, Paula Miller, Randall Combs, Sharon Alexander, Wylma Heiskell, Lisa Shaw and Wendell Williams.

"Our mission is to establish funds to supplement the state, federal and local monies the school receives in order to provide our students with the educational opportunities necessary to prepare them for today's world," said board member Wylma Heiskell.

She said the foundation offers a variety of funds that are flexible to meet their donors' different charitable interest. They include:

* Unrestricted Funds -- This fund offers the broadest giving option with no minimum. Philanthropic usage is determined by the foundation.

* Donor Advised Funds -- Enable patrons to recommend specific organizations to receive grants.

* Scholarship Funds -- This fund helps students pursue academic goals. A patron may define guidelines for candidacy and the award.

* Designated Funds -- This fund lets patrons of the school district support specific organizations while the foundation makes sure that grants to these groups remain relevant over time and responsive to changing circumstances.

* Organizational Endowment Funds -- These funds are established by nonprofit organizations to provide income to them. The Community Foundation of the Ozarks handles all administrative and investment responsibilities, freeing the organizations to pursue their charitable missions.

Board members said some identified needs in the school district include:

* Technology -- Need to update computers, and more every four years. This is a tremendous challenge for the school district to find the funds to keep technology current for students.

* Music/Drama -- The district needs lights, props, music, on an ongoing basis.

* Science and Mathematics -- Continuing need to update equipment and materials.

* Library Media -- Always a need for updated materials.

* Regular replacement of uniforms and equipment for all sports as well as elementary and high school physical education.

For more information on the Alton School Foundation call Heiskell at 417-778-6450.

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