Pearl River Board of Education Vice President Jackie Curtiss announced this week that six months of preparation resulted in the recent creation of the Pearl River Education Foundation.
The foundation was created by members of the community to enhance educational programs in Pearl River schools by raising funds beyond those included in district budgets.
"We will raise money and accept grant applications from teachers in the district to request money for programs in their classrooms or technology that the district can't afford within its budget," Curtiss said. "Other schools in the county and Westchester have done this. With budget cuts coming from the state, it is a great time to do it."
The Foundation will kick off its fundraising efforts with a gala benefit and auction Jan. 25 at the Pearl River Elks Club. Anyone interested in donating items for the auction should call Curtiss at (845) 735-3049 or Michael Preston at (845) 494-5049 or they can us the Foundation's email address, which is email@example.com.
Curtiss and Preston join Orangetown Councilman Denis Troy, Orangetown Attorney Teresa Kenny, former New York Yankee John Flaherty, Eileen Kelly, Jackie McGee, Peggy Powers and Bob Wilson on the Foundation's board.
They will work with a committee, which includes Pearl River administrators Superintendent of Schools Dr. John Morgano, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Sue Wheeler, Director of Operations Quinton Van Wynen and Franklin Avenue Elementary School Principal Maureen Alaimo. Curtiss said they hope to have staff members from each school in the district and the PTA involved with the committee.
Curtiss said during Tuesday's board of education meeting that she expects technology to be focal point.
"I think people realize we're behind the 8 ball on technology," Curtiss said. "WE don't have a lot of extra money. We're not ahead of the game. Maybe the foundation can help with that."
The Foundation will provide grant applications to Pearl River School District staff in the spring so they can request funds for educational projects, materials and programs outside of the district budget. Building principals will sign off on the grant requests, which will then go to the Foundation Board for approval.
Curtiss said it was early in the process to set a fundraising goal and added that money from the first year will go into grants and a reserve for the Foundation. She added that the Foundation would not give out scholarships.
Donations can be sent to The Pearl River Education Foundation at 135 West Crooked Hill Road, Pearl River, NY 10965.
Editor's note: The Pearl River Educational Foundation email was corrected to firstname.lastname@example.org