RRDSB approves formation of committee to create Student Support Foundation

By Allan Bradbury
Staff Writer

The public school Board of Trustees voted to create an ad hoc committee which will oversee the formation of a charitable foundation which will aid in the funding of school programming and ensuring education is equitable throughout the district.

The ad hoc committee’s terms of reference were discussed at the Jan. 17 meeting of the Rainy River District School Board (RRDSB) Finance Committee.

Superintendent of Business Meghan Cox brought the proposal to the Finance Committee. In the draft terms of reference for the committee the stated purpose is “…to advise on the establishment of a foundation to support RRDSB students through funding school nutrition programs, opportunities to experience excursions and field trips, support of extracurriculars, and student bursaries and post-secondary scholarships.”

The committee will comprise seven to nine members according to the proposed terms.

The Director of Education, the Superintendent of Business, one elementary and one secondary administrator, one or two members of the Parent Involvement Committee, one or two community partners and one trustee from the Finance Committee.

Members proposed at the Feb. 7 meeting were:

Heather Campbell, Director of Education

Meghan Cox, Superintendent of Business

Carly Skrenski, Elementary Administrator, North Star Community School

Michelle Mosbeck, Secondary Administrator, Fort Frances High School

Marlis Bruyere, Community Partner, Seven Generations Education Institute

Stephanie Cran, Community Partner, Northwestern Health Unit

Kathryn Pierroz, Trustee from Finance Committee.

A member from the Parent Involvement Committee was proposed but the name was not mentioned.

An ad hoc committee is required as the parameters for the committee do not fall under the purview of any of the other established standing committees under the RRDSB.

“The Student Support Foundation Ad Hoc Committee will act in an advisory capacity to the Board and administration as it pertains to the establishing of the Student Support Foundation by providing recommendations on the Student Support Foundation’s name, purpose, structure and bylaws.”

Over the course of about a year, in place until December, the committee will oversee the incorporation of a foundation and apply for charitable status to the CRA (Canada Revenue Agency).

The creation of a foundation would hopefully allow for fundraising in schools across the district that will be tax receiptable.

During the Board of Trustees meeting there was some discussion as to the effect the foundation might have on sports booster clubs.

One trustee questioned whether the goal of the foundation might be to replace clubs like the Fort Frances High School Muskie hockey teams’ Blue Line and Red Line clubs or the Muskie Football Team’s Touchdown Club.

The in forming the proposal for the committee, booster clubs were consulted. But, the point was made that many schools do not have the same volunteer base that Fort Frances High School has, which is required to run booster clubs to help fund team travel and other expenses for school sports teams. While some organizations like KidSport and JumpStart will support some kids to play in school sports, the foundation could enable even more kids to play even more sports.

The foundation is also meant to fund much more than sports. Often school activities can cost more than specific schools have budgeted so the foundation can enable donors to support educational opportunities like field trips and other experiences.