By Tim Leeds
The Havre Public Schools Education Foundation will hold its first annual meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 8 at the upstairs conference room in the Robins Administration Building.
"This is the very first meeting, to kick off the foundation itself," Kirk Miller, ex officio member of the foundation board said.
Miller said everything the foundation has done so far as basically been for organization and planning. Monday's meeting is when the foundation elected officials will actually take office and start their terms.
"And we're off and running," Miller said.
He said the public is welcome and invited to attend the meeting.
Business scheduled for Monday's meeting includes Byron Ophus, secretary-treasurer of the foundations's board giving the financial report; committee reports of the executive, finance and public relations committees; old and new business will be discussed, including the foundation's goals for 2001 and the establishment of a scholarship committee.
The foundation, first established by the Havre Public Schools Board of Trustees last March, has already collected some sizable donations. The Robert Ragnvold Estate made an endowment to benefit the schools' golf programs, the Bart Nolan Memorial Scholarship Fund made an endowment for an art scholarship, the Elliot Family Endowment was established to provide scholarships in memorial to Dr. Jim Elliot, and other groups and businesses have been making contributions as well.
Board member Ray Peck said in October that the foundation gives people the opportunity to provide additional funds for local education. He said the school districts have been limited by the Supreme Court in levying special mills for education, and the foundation provides the opportunity to collect additional funds for the district.
"It's less tax revenue for Uncle Sam, but more benefit for the local people," Norm Gorder, vice president of the foundation, said.
Byron Ophus, secretary-treasurer of the board, said the tax-deductibility of contributions to the non-profit organization is a main point of the foundation, as is what it can do for area students in the future.
Board members said that they have a variety of goals, both for fund raising and for projects to fund.
They said possible fund raising events could include anniversaries, reunions and birthdays, as well as memorials, and that they would also like to be in contact with service groups and area organizations.
Some of the possible goals mentioned included to provide the opportunity for every graduate of the high school to receive a scholarship, to provide funds for wrestling rooms at the high school or middle school, new band uniforms, a new sound system at the high school, or other enhancements mill levies can't pay for right now.
The foundation, a separate entity from the school district, working in cooperation with the district but acting independently, was established in March by the Havre Public Schools Board of Trustees. It's purpose is raise and provide funds, through tax-deductible gifts, grants and bequests, to improve, enhance and support educational opportunities for students in the district.
The first board of directors was approved by the school board in May. Early spring and summer was spent organizing and planning the new foundation's activities.