Excellence fund proposed

Community members and businesses soon could have a new way to support the students of the Lafayette Parish school system through a proposed Lafayette Parish Fund for Excellence in Public Schools.

The Community Foundation of Acadiana would manage the fund, and donors would have the option to designate how their donation is used.

A list of needs identified by program supervisors and academic officers will be provided to interested donors, said Angela Morrison, the school system’s director of community collaborations and partnerships.

“We’ll be able to match those opportunities with an interested donor,” she said.

The School Board will decide at its Nov. 28 meeting whether to approve the fund’s creation, Morrison said.

Donations would be tax-deductible and donors may opt to provide general support to the school system or earmark their donation to a specific project, Morrison said.

Proposed focus areas for donations are infrastructure, programs or instructional areas, according to information provided to School Board members.

An advisory board of volunteers appointed by the superintendent and Community Foundation of Acadiana will oversee the fund and make decisions on how funds not designated for a specific project are used, said Raymond Hebert, foundation president and CEO, during the School Board’s Nov. 7 meeting.

As the fund manager, the foundation will receive 2.5 percent of donations, but the rate is negotiable after the first year of the fund, Hebert said.

Board member Tehmi Chassion asked if the school system could raise money on its own without a partnership with the foundation.

“The problem with that is there are people out there (who) want to donate money, but they don’t want to donate to the school system,” Superintendent Pat Cooper said.

Morrison said Tuesday that the fund offers donors an additional “layer” of oversight.

“This gives an extra layer of opportunity for a donor to say how they want that money spent and CFA offers additional monitoring of that,” she said.

The school system recently received a corporate donation from Stone Energy to landscape the newly renovated N.P. Moss Preparatory School and the company also has committed to landscaping Northside High in the future, Morrison said.

“We have others who are interested in contributing to a fund,” she said.