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FOUNDATION CONSIDERED TO AID FUNDING

The Tonawanda City School District is considering establishing a special foundation to help raise money for its schools.

Assistant Superintendent Sharon Lansing has been examining how other districts, such as Hamburg, Alden and Sweet Home, established their own foundations and how these foundations have helped students.

A foundation could help fund extracurricular activities, staff development and equipment.

"As state and federal dollars began to dwindle, we began to creatively look for other solutions," Lansing said.

The Hamburg schools' foundation, considered a model, was established as a separate, district-related corporation, with a board of trustees.

According to Lansing's report, a foundation could net the district as much as $140,000 over a four-year period, as it did for Hamburg schools.

"It's a way for the community to help support the schools," she said. "It could raise a significant amount of money."

Lansing said the district might have to spend as much as $20,000 setting up a foundation, which includes paperwork, filing fees and planning the first fund-raiser, generally a kickoff dinner.

Some of that money would be used for legal fees, which could total $1,200 to $6,000, depending on how generous the attorneys would be with volunteer and pro-bono time, she said.

The School Board seemed receptive to the report, but Thomas Balk, a board member, questioned how the district would recruit leaders for the foundation.

"Any successful foundation has to have a strong and energetic leader," Balk said. "My question is, how do you find that person?"

Anthony Melchiorre, another board member, said that did not worry him because word-of-mouth efforts would attract potential foundation members.

Superintendent George Batterson discussed combining a foundation with an alumni association, another idea brought up a few weeks ago.

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