Donations lift Quaker Valley education, programs
More than $914,000 in donations toward Quaker Valley School District initiatives have been collected since 2009, leaders said.
The money outside the regular budget process keeps programs and services operating even as budgets tighten, Superintendent Joseph Clapper said.
“It allows us to do programming and provide services to children and sometimes to families who otherwise we may not be able to provide for,” he said. “We're working really, really hard here to have a very frugal ... budget that meets the needs of this tremendous educational program here.
“We have to be creative and innovate to do those unique and different things that our parents and kids have become accustomed to.”
More than $190,500 was donated to Quaker Valley during the 2012-13 school year, while the budget totaled more than $41 million, according to district records.
External support allows district leaders to “explore creative ways to fund programs rather than to eliminate them,” Assistant Superintendent Heidi Ondek said. She works closely with the nonprofit group Friends of Quaker Valley Schools, which supports a variety of programs in the district.
Since 2009, donations from individuals and organizations have totaled more than $214,000 for a community youth worker who coordinates after-school programming and provides mentoring to children, Clapper said.
“(The youth worker's) salary and the operational kinds of expenses that occur are fully funded externally, which is a powerful statement made by our partners in the community,” Clapper said. “They recognize the need for someone helping with those kids to make connections after school.”
Clapper said he'd like to see the district's after-school and summer programs increase.
“(They are) becoming more and more an integral part of what we do here,” he said.
“Funding externally makes it more palatable. Those (programs) are not mandated, but they're good for kids, and they're good for families. So if we can find ways to operate those programs for the benefit of our kids, by all means we should be doing that.”
Clapper said the $914,000 does not include support for the athletic booster organizations and extracurricular clubs, which also receive donations.
“Every girl and boy sport we have has a booster group, and it's not just athletics — band, juggling-club supporters,” he said. “People out there are doing incredible amounts of work and making subsequent donations for these children.”
A high school fitness center was fully funded by outside support, and the middle school's wellness center also received donations for equipment and technology, he said.
Clapper said the need for outside support — through donations or through sponsorship agreements, such as naming rights — will continue to grow as district leaders look for alternative ways to supplement the school budget.
“Public schools today are being asked to do more and more with less and less,” he said. “The mandates continue (and) the cost of doing business continues to increase dramatically.
“We are very blessed to have community groups and nonprofits and businesses and vendors and, of course, families and individuals who no longer have children in the schools step up and make those kinds of contributions.”
Bobby Cherry is an associate editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-324-1408 or email@example.com.
Add Bobby Cherry to your Google+ circles.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.