By Harry Welty
When I was elected to the Duluth School Board a decade ago
My school board years were marked with declining enrollments, shrinking revenues, and a furor over school closures. We spent so much time dealing with day to day crisis and minutiae that we had little time to worry about leaving a legacy. Every time we had to consider cutting a program parents and other citizens told us that they would gladly pay more taxes for their childrenís schools. Iíd like to put that claim to the test and I have just the way to do it - the Duluth Public Schools Endowment Fund.
The DPS Endowment began awarding grants to our teachers in
1995, the same year I was sworn in as a Board member. Since then the Endowment
has awarded over 157 grants to
The Endowment now stands at $450,000 and all of its earnings on investments go to our schools. According to our former Superintendent, Mark Myles, one of the Endowmentís donors, it all began with an anonymous contribution of $200,000. Although institutions like Harvard and Stanford operate with billions of dollars in endowments public schools have traditionally depended on the kindness of the state legislature. Sometimes they get more cold shoulder than kindness.
When I was asked to become a trustee of the Endowment Board
last spring the first thing I thought of was our School Boardís titanic
struggle to build and maintain a 10 percent reserve fund for the District. At
roughly ten million dollars and combined with other district moneys it added
about a million dollars in interest earnings to the
Would one in ten of our 15,000 parents contribute ten dollars every year over and above their taxes to an endowment? Would more than ten percent of parents contribute? Would some contribute more? Would they make contributions annually
Would our schoolís alumni make contributions or even
leave a gift to the Endowment in their wills? Before this would happen weíd
have to contact them. How could we do that? How did recent all-school reunion
committees accomplish this? Are there people in
Wouldnít it be neat if some of our recent graduates began making annual contributions? It would be thrilling to know that fifty years from now a few of our alumni had contributed a little something to the Endowment every year since graduating. Like perfect attendance or donating blood or buying savings bonds, making an annual donation would be a good habit to get started.
Iíd love to see families or alumni make donations in honor of a favorite teacher. Maybe they would also send us an anecdote to keep their memories alive. I know that Iíve had teachers who deserve this kind of recognition.
The Endowment is looking for the most passionate advocates
Dear Reader, we would love to have you attend. And even if
you arenít the right person you may know the right kind of person. She could
be the Mother who organized the school carnival, or the Dad who chaperoned at
Anyone who is interested in building a fitting legacy for
the Duluth Schools should get in touch with me. My phone number is: 728-6928.
(But Pssssst! Donít go telling that number to just anybody). Requests to
attend could also be mailed to me at:
Come on. This is going to be fun. Remember, the more hands the lighter the work.
Welty is a small time
politician who lets it all hang out at: www.lincolndemocrat.com
is The View's luncheon menu for after our meeting.
Chicken Caesar Salad
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