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New foundation supports Ligonier Valley School District

| Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013, 10:50 p.m.
Kim Stepinsky | for the Ligonier Echo
The newly created Ligonier Valley School District Foundation Inc. discusses areas for use of a donation provided by Ligonier Valley Endowment, during a meeting held at Ligonier Town Hall From left areJoe Codrick of Ligonier, foundation president;Helen Sitler of Ligonier, foundation secretary; and Irma Hutchinson of Ligonier, school board representative.

A new Ligonier nonprofit group is seeking to offset funding cutbacks in Ligonier Valley School District.

The recently formed LVSD Foundation Board accepted a start-up donation from the Ligonier Valley Endowment on Nov. 14 at its first official meeting. It has also received donations from other sources.

“The foundation has been formed to support the Ligonier Valley School District for things they cannot fund,” said Irma Hutchinson, who will serve on the board as a representative of the school board.

Hutchinson said the board evolved from a group of concerned residents interested in helping areas of the school that have been affected by decreased funding from the state and budget cuts — specifically the arts, athletics and academic departments.

“Our goal is to work to maintain a balance across those different interests in the district,” said foundation secretary Helen Sitler.

The board spent the last year securing its status as a 501(c)3 organization, Hutchinson said.

“We really don't know where (state) funding is going to be going in the next few years,” Hutchinson said. “There is a need for something of this nature.”

Foundation President Joe Codrick said he is eager to help the district that provided his son and daughter with “absolutely outstanding” educations.

He said he sees and believes in the potential of the district, and he hopes the board can help offset some of its expenses.

Other members of the board are:

•Shawn Proskin, school board representative

•Bob Patrick, vice president

•Bud Carnahan, treasurer

•Polly Petro, at-large representative

•Bill Stablein, at-large representative

The board discussed what its first contribution to the district will entail and reviewed a list of needed items received from Dr. Christine Oldham, the district's superintendent.

Instructors submitted to Oldham a list of what tools they would like to add to their classrooms, such as a new kiln for the art department's ceramics lessons and new music for the music department, Hutchinson said.

The board agreed to return the list to Oldham so that she can ask instructors which items should be given priority.

Oldham will then send the board an updated list, and it will move forward with providing funds.

The board voted to seek donations from churches in the district for the Kidz Kare Fund, which board members have created to provide assistance for students who are indigent or living in less than adequate situations. They hope to provide assistance for dental care, medical co-pays, money for the laundromat and vision care, among other needs.

While its primary source of funding will be local churches, the board plans to provide an opportunity to administrators, teachers and others in the district to contribute to the fund.

Anyone interested in getting involved with the LVSD Foundation Board should contact Irma Hutchinson at 724-238-4358.

Nicole Chynoweth is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-2862 or