Carson City school foundation adapting to COVID-19 needs | NevadaAppeal.com
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Carson City school foundation adapting to COVID-19 needs

By Jessica Garcia jgarcia@nevadaappeal.com

The Carson City Schools Foundation considers itself a small conduit of information, but its volunteers are keen on funneling resources in powerful ways that will help the local school district.

Foundation President Steve Reynolds, secretary/treasurer Casey Gilles and board member Keith Squires, along with five others, are focusing on efforts to support the Carson City School District’s staff and students financially in ways its sites might be limited to doing on their own. The foundation also is open to adapting to scholarship requests that have happened in recent months with COVID-19 and new needs in the classroom that have arisen for district staff members.

“Our mission is that we want to secure funding for schools,” Reynolds explained at the Aug. 25 school board meeting. “We want to support projects beyond schools funded by district and work with the community.”

During the foundation’s presentation on Aug. 25, Reynolds, Gilles and Squires highlighted some of the charity’s initiatives and income sources. Funding is received primarily through individual donors and employee payroll deductions, which currently totals about $700 monthly. Approximately 10 percent of all district staff members contribute through this method.

The employee campaign is to highlight awareness that the foundation exists, Reynolds said.

As of August, the foundation’s balance was holding at about $91,442 to be used for its projects and student needs above what the district is able to fund.

The board typically meets monthly except in July at the district office to review its budget and financial standing and goals, evaluate funding applications and assess project needs.

The foundation previously approved a grant budget for the 2020-21 year of $20,000 that included $2,000 in operating costs, $2,000 for student grants, $4,000 for staff mini-grants, $10,000 for group grants dedicated to the different school campuses or departments for various projects and $2,000 for several special requests that Reynolds said the foundation receives at any time during the year.

Reynolds also reported on the success of this year’s spring mini-grant awards, which totaled $250 to help new teachers in need of materials or to launch special education projects. Department grants went to speech pathologists in Student Support Services or to operations services director Mark Korinek to purchase recycling bins for schools.

Squires said the foundation will be offering a new mini-grant this year, the Cathy Bober grant, to honor the late educator who died in September 2019 from cancer after working as a teacher in Lake Tahoe and a substitute teacher in Carson City and contributed volunteer service at local churches.

Squires, who is retired, said the pandemic this year has created its own unique circumstances and made it more important to conduct outreach to teachers and administrators. It also offered the freedom for staff members to contribute as they choose.

“The situation is so incredibly complex because of dealing with the additional challenges of the safety of students and teachers and staff that, in this system as complex as we already had, we had to be flexible to allow for new ideas to percolate or evolve out of this to where they feel comfortable to where they could say, ‘Here’s what I think I can do.’ ”

Gilles and Squires said grant applications will be available this fall, and anyone who is interested can visit the website or contact the board members for more information. Anyone wishing to contribute to the foundation can go to http://www.ccschoolsfoundation.org or send checks to the Carson City Schools Foundation, P.O. Box 92, Carson City, Nev. 89702. For more information, e-mail info@ccschoolsfoundation.org.