CARSON CITY, NV - As funding for education remains one of the main topics of discussion this legislative session, one school district is taking matters into its own hands. The Carson City School foundation is a 501c3 organization that has a simple mission: support the children in the Carson City School District.
"Really the bottom is get as many resources as we can to build great citizens of tomorrow in the Carson City School District," says Ian Hill, president of the foundation.
The school district foundation is partnering with the Community Foundation of Western Nevada, with a goal of raising $200,000 the first year.
That money will be used to fund programs based on the school district’s strategic plan, which was drafted with community input.
It will also augment or complement programs and activities already being provided by the district, which receives money from the state based on the number of students enrolled. The amount of money allotted per pupil fluctuates depending on the Legislature that meets every other year.
"At the end of the day, it's about helping the school district meet its mission," Hill said. "The money that comes from the state isn't enough to do all the programs that will help these kids be 21st century citizens. So we want to be a catalyst to increase philanthropy in the community to support the kids."
Hill says the foundation doesn't expect the community of Carson City to fully fund the school district. “But it will be able to level the ebbs and flow of state distributive funds," he said.
According to Superintendent Richard Stokes, the objectives outlined in the district's strategic plan are creating community partnerships; engaging parents; developing curriculum relevant to the needs of our future workforce; promoting health and wellness; and fostering exceptional administrators, teachers and staff.
“Our school district strategic plan has some innovative programs in it,” he said. “Having an ongoing source of funding will help make these goals a reality.”
He says the district is optimistic about the education funding Governor Brian Sandoval proposed in his State of the State address, but the school district wants to make sure its kids are supported regardless what law makers decide.
"They're great ideas," Stokes said. "We hope that they work. But they're still unproven right now. And so we're hoping this gets us moving in the right direction and it helps us start to accomplish all the little goals of our strategic plan."
Hill says the foundation will provide supplemental support to schools, teachers and kids.
“We want it to be the vehicle that helps make these programs run,” he said. Hill says the foundation will help out with everything from new shoes and school supplies to STEM related research and learning tools, projects and programs.
One of the first accounts established will allow teachers to apply for micro grants of $100 or less to pay for immediate student needs.
Unlike many foundations, Hill says donors can also choose which programs they would like their money to go to. The money specifically earmarked for science, technology, engineering and math courses, will be directly toward programs that will manufacture career exposure for students from elementary through high school. Hill says they will also be provided support for other areas like art and digital media.
“There’s a direct benefit,” Hill said. “They’re helping guide their future employees. Whether it's robotics, or engineering, whether it's sports or it's Pre- K activities to set our kids up for success. These are the kind of things we hope to fund."
The Carson City School District Foundation Launch Party will be 10 a.m. Wednesday in Senator Square at Carson High School. Board members will announce money raised so far and outline the foundation’s vision. Refreshments will be provided by the culinary students.