Bayfield School District Finance Director Amy Lyons and Superintendent Troy Zabel want to create an educational foundation to assist the schools with unfunded needs.
"The big one (motivation for doing this) is filling gaps, things we aren't funding in the district," Lyons told the school board Tuesday night.
"We talked about it in 2008. It just wasn't the right time," she said. "I feel like the stars are lining up and we'll make it happen this time."
She cited the Durango Education Foundation and said that group is willing to work with Bayfield on setting up its own foundation.
"The foundation will be very different from the district once it's set up. We're planting the seed for what it looks like, but it will be up to a foundation board to firm it up," Lyons said.
Zabel added, "They would work very closely with this board to do that."
The school board will appoint the foundation board, Lyons said. She suggested that board should include a retired teacher, someone with experience of classroom realities.
Zabel said, "Our recommendation will be that the district finance director will always be a voting member of the foundation board."
Lyons said the plan is to establish a donor wall in the performing arts auditorium now under construction at the high school to raise money for the foundation.
"We'd like to bring a resolution at the next meeting that we want to proceed," she said, but she clarified to the Times that it might not be that soon. Then organizers would file with the state as a non-profit corporation and seek 501(c)3 status, she said.
"As soon as we file, we can start accepting money," she said. It will go into a separate bank account from district funds.
Zabel said the idea with the donor wall "was to buy things for the auditorium, but it needs to be much bigger than that. Let it seed the foundation. We are putting together a proposal about the foundation."
Lyons said, "It's about all kids, all activities."
It will support "student excellence in academics, activities, arts, and athletics," Zabel said.
Board member and retired BHS teacher Carol Blatnick commented, "I see it as over and above, the cherries on the cake."
Lyons responded, "It's not that the district doesn't think those are important, but the district can't do it all." She would like the foundation to provide for more staff recognition, such as the recognition banquet the Durango foundation sponsors.
According to an information sheet Lyons handed out Tuesday, the foundation mission will be to fill educational funding gaps, provide grants for innovative or prototype programs, give staff recognition, and provide scholarships for students to go to national competitions.
Blatnick suggested Bayfield alumni will want to donate to the foundation.
Lyons added, "There are people who have become very successful." She lamented lack of data on what graduates have done, but she said, "We're really excited about this."
Zabel said, "Long-term it will be a huge benefit."