Efforts are under way to create a Bayfield Educational Foundation modeled after the foundation that has assisted the Durango School District for many years.
Former Bayfield School Board president Barb Wickman gave an update to the current board on Oct. 28, the general vision for the organization and tentative schedule of activities such as fundraisers, applying for grants, and allocation of money raised.
Money could be used for academics, enrichment activities, and professional development, she said.
"The general vision that Amy (Lyons), Troy (Zabel) and I have been talking about is more money for everything; relief for staff in terms of seeking and managing grants, finding new funding sources but don't lose existing support from the community," Wickman said. Lyons is district finance director, and Zabel is district superintendent.
They are trying to get the foundation started, she said, but they won't be the ultimate board of directors. It will be a 501c3 non-profit organization.
The next step is to find out if there is community buy-in, Wickman said. She called it "a reality check to start small and do it well. We need staff and community ideas" through surveys.
"Finally, kick it off with the start of a school year" next August, she said.
Between now and then, the plan is to set up a development committee to do initial research, then develop the legal structure, then take "several months to roll it out," she said. "I think we need a couple more people. I can't do it by myself."
The development committee will deal with "high-level issues," such as whether they need a grant writer, talk to a lawyer, set up bank accounts, then look for board candidates. "They'll have to solicit money for their own budget," Wickman said.
Then the committee will put together marketing materials and information for school handbooks for the next school year.
"The development committee will be sort of like a SWAT team, very goal-oriented," Wickman said. So far it is she, Lyons, and Zabel. "We haven't asked anybody else about this yet. It needs to be people who can spend the time and want to get something done."
The actual board of directors will be a different sort of people, she said. She is looking for suggestions for board members.
School board member Carol Blatnick suggested the foundation will need a part-time administrator or someone who is paid a percentage of grant funds they raise.
Lyons said the Durango foundation started with all volunteers. Now they have a full-time director.
Bayfield High School has a donor wall in the form of a tree with leaves on the foyer wall outside the new performing arts auditorium. The leaves will be engraved to recognize donors. Zabel said those donations will provide seed money for foundation operating expenses.