Dr. Brenda Winkler presented the struggles that the Kutztown Area School District Education Foundation has gone through over the past couple of years.
“I started this with Bob Grim in 1999 and in 2000 we made an application to the IRS for a 501-C3 status so that we could proceed to begin doing things for the students of Kutztown that you can’t use tax dollars for,” Winkler explained to the Kutztown School Board during their April 15 meeting.
Primarily, the foundation has been providing scholarships for the students for when they graduated from the Kutztown High School and has been run by graduates from the Kutztown Area High School. The bylaws call for 13 KASD alums to serve on the board. The board serves voluntarily and all money that comes through the non-profit goes back into the school district.
At the presentation she said that when the foundation first looked into fixing up the track the estimated cost was at $650,000. Winkler was hoping that they could begin fundraising and cover the surface, do the prep work and the drainage. However, as the years went by the cost of the preparation work went up to $4.2 million.
“We had hoped on three different occasions that we could do some fundraising,” Winkler said but it never worked out.
“We stand ready in hope that the economy turns around and we can work in partnership.I would say first of all since 2001-02 we have been able to pass through $270,000 to the school district. We try to prepare a narrative each year of not taking the place of the tax dollars each year that supports the technology, but trying to go beyond that.”
She said that their dollars can be applied in the high school as well as the middle school.
The Educational Improvement Tax credit program is when a business pays into a program and gets a reduction on state taxes. The donation has to go through a 501-C3 and cannot go directly through the school district.
The education foundation used to go get money from individual donors and companies who participated in the Educational Improvement Tax credit program. However over the years the donations have gotten smaller and some people have stopped donating.
“We’re hoping that Giant will start again now that they’re in town,” Winkler said.
Winkler hopes that the foundation can continue to work with the board of directors to make improvements to the school district. She said that she will begin an appeal to local businesses for more donations.