Why an education foundation?
Public schools across the country have struggled for years to find the funding for their basic needs. In the last few years, that funding has become even more difficult to secure; the collapse of the economy along with the mortgage sector triggered a domino effect that resulted in high unemployment and drastically reduced tax income. In Massachusetts, state funding to public schools was significantly decreased; Westport will receive $175,552 less from the state for the upcoming school year than it did last year. That funding decrease, combined with rising costs in healthcare and mandated special education expenses, is causing some dramatic changes to our schools.
Approximately 25% of public school districts nationwide are now supplemented by education foundations. Foundations typically do not fund “the basics,” (i.e. classroom teachers and sports programs) because they cannot sustain salaries for long periods of time. Instead, they fund academic enrichment programs that help give teachers the resources they need to expose students to new and interesting concepts and experiences beyond the regular curriculum. Personal computers were invented just one generation ago. What inventions will be a part of our next generation? We are preparing students for that next generation of inventions that will drive our future economy to places we cannot yet imagine. Our children will someday compete against another candidate for a new job, or sit next to another student in a college classroom, or submit a piece of artwork to a gallery. We want Westport students to feel proud and confident that they were offered the same or better opportunities for success in each situation. Our hope is that these students will thrive in a way that benefits everyone in our community – that they find interesting and productive ways to say “thank you” for the beginning we gave them.
Chair: Carol Bonnar
Vice-Chair: Lorna Miles
Treasurer - Tanya Quinlan
Secretary - Cheryl Carvalho
MAC School Liaison: Cheryl Carvalho
WES School Liaison: Kathy Gillet
Jr./Sr. High School Liaison: Marilyn Packard Luther
Tracy Priestner, Nancy Tavares, Gina Palmer, Tom Merchant, Richard Perry
President Emeritus - Dianne Baron, Karen Powell, Sarah Gifford, Ann Marie Forbes