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Morris High School working on education foundation

Published: Wednesday, April 16, 2014 9:20 p.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, April 17, 2014 10:56 a.m. CDT

MORRIS – Morris Community High School may soon create an education foundation.

The school district is pursuing the creation of the Morris Community High School Education Foundation, which could be used to fund student scholarships and enhanced learning initiatives at the high school.

“Basically, as a district, the donations we currently accept are from a booster club or a local business, and they are kind of shortterm,” District 101 Superintendent Pat Halloran said Wednesday. “This would create a long-term, viable place where people could donate money to the school in a variety of ways.”

Nearly every member of the Morris Community High School District 101 Board voiced support at Monday’s board meeting for the creation of an education foundation.

“This is something we hashed out a while back, but we just got sidetracked the last few years,” Board President Denny Best said during Monday’s meeting. “But this is definitely something that would be beneficial to the district.”

In 2010, the district began taking steps to create a foundation, but the project never moved past the preliminary stages, Halloran said.

“We are happy to put this project back on the front burner,” Halloran said. “I’m really excited about this.”

The Community Foundation of Grundy County would be the “fiscal manager” of the fund, Halloran said.

Julie Buck, executive director of the Community Foundation, said Wednesday the district would receive up to 5 percent of the education fund’s total value per year. For example, if the fund had a principal balance of $100,000, the district would receive $5,000 at the end of the year.

“That’s a really favorable return rate on any investment,” Halloran said.

The money would be used for granting annual scholarships and offering mini-grants to teachers and community members for use on special educational projects.

Halloran said the district would appoint a board of trustees to oversee the education foundation and decide exactly how the endowment money should be spent every year.

“This will really be a community-driven project,” Halloran said. “We will need a few key people from the community to help get this project started.”

He said the district hopes to gather that group of people by mid-May so it can begin drafting the bylaws for the foundation.

Morris High School would join Saratoga Community Consolidated School District 60C, which currently has an education endowment fund that is managed by the community foundation, Buck said. Coal City Community Unit School District 1 also has an education foundation.

“I am excited to see the services the community foundation offers being used by more and more organizations in the community,” Buck said.

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