Skaneateles Education Foundation making strides to enhance education

School districts across the country are reaping the benefits of local education foundations.

Some foundations have paid for capital projects that require bricks and mortar while others fund multi-year endeavors. Locally, the Skaneateles Education Foundation wants to give students a higher quality of learning by way of funding educational projects without supplementing or offsetting the district budget, like paying for teacher salaries or bus purchases.

Instead, the foundation is geared toward giving children a brighter education by providing assistance to enrich class curriculum and the overall educational experience. It's about the kids, and the board of directors is committed to providing Skaneateles' youth with the best education possible.

"People are recognizing taxes are not adequate to do the things they want to do in their community," said Sharon Magee, the foundation's executive director. "Budgets and taxes do not cover all the research and development required to keep the schools cutting edge and relevant to today's challenges."

Board members see the foundation as a way of filling gaps created by what the district cannot cover through the annual budget. The foundation hopes to provide enrichment and innovation, which cannot be covered through the district's annual budget. Board President Peter Swartz said, in terms of examples, the foundation addresses needs with respect to those who need financial assistance to participate in something.

"There are needs of individual students that can't be met in the traditional means," board member and 1981 SHS alum Bill Danaher said.

For instance, last year the foundation, though still in its infancy, was able to help provide funding for seven eighth-graders to go on the eighth grade trip to Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

Each student is expected to pay his or her own way for the educational excursion, but the price is between $500 and $600, which some families simply cannot afford, Danaher said. Funding was also provided by Todd's Fund and the Friends of Dave Pirro.

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