Tuesday, Jan 16, 2018
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Our Town Schools

Perrysburg school board considers Education Foundation fund


Jeff Abke, Perrysburg Schools development director, supports the use of a foundation for donors.


Perrysburg Schools hired its first ever development director Jeff Abke in August with a purpose to raising money from donors and alumni, a rare approach among public school districts.

The school administration is taking another step to support that effort, asking the Board of Education to approve a Perrysburg Education Foundation Fund.

This fund would accept donor contributions such as stocks and other monetary instruments which currently can't be accepted. With the fund, the district can get earn money on the donated money.

"The big thing is it will have a better return on investment," Mr. Abke said. "That is the main reason to do this."

The school board had a first reading of the new foundation this week and is expected to vote on it at the next board meeting May 19. The funds would be controlled by the board of education. The resolution provides that school administration officials would be appointed by the board to form a committee to oversee the foundation.

Superintendent Tom Hosler, Treasurer Matt Feasel, Mr. Abke, Executive Director of Teaching and Learning Kadee Anstadt, and a Perrysburg Schools Foundation representative would be appointed to run the foundation board. There is no compensation for those serving on the committee. 

School board member Walt Edinger said the committee members should be of the people serving in those administrative roles, not the named individuals. He did sound in favor of the fund.

Currently, if a donor wants to give money for a specific improvement or service in the district, such as for air conditioning in the junior high school,  the money would be accepted and placed in the general fund and then the board could allot those funds toward the donated purposes. As proposed with the foundation, the money would go to the foundation which then would decide how the funds would be used.

"It is a safeguard for the money to go to what donors want it used for," Mr. Hosler said.

Gretchen Downs, board of education president, said she preferred to wait a month before voting on the new approach, giving her time to consider it. Board member Cal Smith agreed during Monday's meeting saying he doesn't understand it.

Mr. Abke says that receiving more interest for endowments is vital with the new foundation. 

"We want to be good stewards of their philanthropy and investments," he said about the donors.

Donated funds now must be deposited in a bank account, earning less than 1 percent interest. Perrysburg Schools hope to have around double-digit interest rates earnings using the proposed new approach.

Contact Matt Thompson at: mthompson@theblade.com, 419-356-8786, or on Twitter at @mthompson25.

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