BANDON — The Bandon Educational Foundation, which was officially founded last year, has been working to improve education and facilities for Bandon students.
“The BEF is a group of approximately 12 community members that want to help fill in the gaps between what our community is doing and our schools are doing to provide our kids with opportunities they normally wouldn’t have,” Bandon School District Superintendent and BEF member Doug Ardiana said.
The idea for an educational foundation in Bandon came from Bandon School Board members attending an annual Oregon School Board convention a few years back. Board members learned about other school districts around the state that were setting up education foundations to help fill funding gaps in budgets.
“It’s always a struggle to make it all work, especially if there’s declining enrollment as there has been in Bandon for a number of years,” Bandon School Board and BEF member Troy Russell said. “Making repairs on buildings, while keeping teachers is hard if there’s a diminishing budget.”
If a school district receives a donation, there is an equalization formula that may apply, and the district then has to return some of its funding to the state. However, money donated to an education is separate from the district’s budget, and therefore is not subject to any sort of equalization formula.
“Having a foundation is a way to offset state support. We have state equalization, so if our local community increases its contributions it decreases the amount of money we get from the state. By having a foundation you can supplement that and it doesn’t adversely affect your district’s income,” Ardiana said.
Members pf the BEF include Doug Ardiana, JJ Mcleod, Anne Goddard, Laurel Roszkowski, Troy Russell, Francis Stadelman, Steve Pounder, Nino Pelayo, Greg Fodera and Amy Fine.
Funds for the BEF come from community donations. Russell said so far, most of the foundation's funds have come to them, but the foundation is working on reaching out to inform the community and ask for donations.
“We’re still new and we haven’t really come up with a number of strategies. So most of the monies to date have come to us. We just recently got our website (bandoneducationalfoundation.org) up and going, and we’ll have more of a social media presence as well. We’re working on some tri-fold pamphlets that tell the basics about us,” Russell said.
Ardiana said that members of the BEF donated $500 when the foundation began as a sign of their commitment to the creation of the foundation.
Over the past year, with the help of community donations, the BEF has been able to provide over $10,000 in academic and vocational scholarships to graduating seniors at Bandon High School, and provide musical instruments to middle and high school students.
Most recently, the BEF received a donation $3,335 from the women’s giving group 100 Strong Bandon.
Russell said that in the future the BEF plans to focus on providing funding to the arts, sustainability and resilience, and upgrading grounds and facilities of the school.
Ardiana said the BEF is also working on funding anti-drug curriculum.