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What you need to know for 04/23/2017

Niskayuna school district eyes foundation for raising funds

Niskayuna school district eyes foundation for raising funds

The Niskayuna Central School District is the latest district to look into forming a foundation to be

The Niskayuna Central School District is the latest district to look into forming a foundation to benefit educational programs.

Board of Education member Barbara Mauro said this organization would be a clearinghouse for people who wanted to donate money to the schools.

“We could launch a major effort to try to draw private contributions to this fund,” Mauro said.

The Niskayuna Central School District Educational Fund would be a part of the existing Niskayuna Community Foundation. The fund would be administered by the Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region, according to Mauro.

“The regional foundation handles the money,” she said.

Mauro said the community would have input into how the funds are spent.

District spokesman Matt Leon said the Community Foundation acts an umbrella organization for many community and education funds in the region.

The next step is for the Board of Education to review and approve documents to affiliate with the foundation, according to Leon. The board has not yet had a conversation about the operating structure for the fund.

“The district is taking this one step at a time, but is interested in exploring this avenue to potentially enhance and/or maintain student opportunities, particularly in these difficult times,” Leon said.

Board President Deb Oriola said it is important that controls are in place before the board votes to set up the fund. The board has to decide, for example, whether donors can say that their money must go to a specific initiative or organization.

“We want to be clear when we solicit funds what the rules and regulations are,” she said.

The board will discuss this further at its meeting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 13.

Other districts already have educational foundations, including Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, Ballston Spa and Broadalbin-Perth. These schools often work with a larger foundation that accepts donations, invests the money and obtains grants.

Scotia-Glenville has just started its own foundation. Last week, the group elected board members, ratified bylaws and approved an agreement to become an affiliate of the Community Foundation. It also received its first $1,000 donation, according to its Facebook page. It did not say who the donor was.

Earlier this year, the Scotia-Glenville group had come together with the help of Board of Education member Andy Crapo. Given the tough fiscal climate, Crapo said previously that he wanted to form the foundation to be able to raise money that would give grants of a few thousand dollars for a group of teachers to fund new equipment or try out new programs.

The organization is looking for members for its awards, fundraising and volunteer resource committees, according to its Facebook page. Its next meeting is at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 19, at 6:30 p.m. in the library at Sacandaga Elementary School.

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