NCSS looks to education foundation for funding

Covington - With soaring gas prices and reduced government assistance affecting public school systems' budgets, many schools are looking for other ways to secure funding for the programs they need.

Many school systems in Georgia - including the Newton County School System - are looking to education foundations, which could help provide extra money through private and corporate funding.

"The primary goal of most education foundations is to be a private partner with the public school system," Deborah Robertson, associate superintendent for administrative services at NCSS, said in an e-mail. "Education foundations may secure resources from other foundations, corporations and individuals to be distributed to local schools to support programs for which funds are not available from federal, state or local public sources."

Robertson said foundations can be directed by a steering committee and a board of directors.

"Research indicated that seven to 12 interested community members who are committed to the concept of private and corporate funding to benefit public education be appointed to form a steering committee," she said in her June administrative services report to the Newton County Board of Education.

Robertson said committee members should include civic and business leaders, parents, school and district leadership and teachers, as well as an attorney and an accountant who are familiar with nonprofit organizations.

The steering committee would determine a general mission and goals, draft bylaws, file as a nonprofit organization and complete other forms and elect a board of directors.

The board of directors then will apply for 501(c)(3) tax status, develop a reporting system for committees, plan program development and fundraising, inform the community of the foundation's goals and needs, start fundraising campaigns and foundation programs and set up financial records.

"Foundation programs typically stimulate excellence in teaching and learning and mobilize community support for the local school system," Robertson said.

The Newton County BOE members decided at their June monthly meeting that they each will bring two names of residents who could be members of the steering committee to the July meeting, which is scheduled for 7 p.m. July 15.

"The committee is of utmost importance to get each committee up and running," Robertson said. "There's a lot of groundwork that needs to be made before we start a foundation."

Michelle Floyd can be reached at michelle.floyd@newtoncitizen.com.