Peaster ISD is joining the ranks of several nearby school districts in the formation of its own education foundation.
Designated as a 501(c)3 nonprofit, the foundation will help provide financial support to Peaster ISD in several areas, including professional development, teacher grants, scholarships, facility needs, equipment and learning resources.
“This is a big need because the school district itself has grown so much,” Peaster ISD Education Foundation board President Jarrod Dickey said. “There’s so much new development going on and the budget just doesn’t always meet all of the needs of the teachers and students.
“We are really there to bridge the gap between what the funding is and what’s needed after, and really just support Peaster ISD as a whole.”
The foundation began to take shape over the summer, with Peaster ISD Superintendent Lance Johnson helping organize a meeting for parents and community members interested in participating, Dickey said. A board was formed with four officers and about 15 members meeting for the first time in early September.
“We’ve got a lot of good people on the board, a good mix of community leaders that want this thing to take off,” Dickey said.
The Weatherford Democrat reached out to both Johnson and Peaster ISD Communications/CTE Director Paul Casey with questions, but did not receive a response.
Dickey, who has two children in Peaster ISD, brings some experience after serving on the Weatherford ISD Education Foundation Board, but said it’s different when you get in on the ground floor.
“Here, you’re starting from scratch, figuring out a logo, building a website,” he said. “The challenges we face out here are also a little bit different — when you’re in Weatherford, you’re surrounded by businesses. [Peaster] only has a handful of businesses so a lot of the support is going to come from community leaders that are out there and also businesses in Weatherford that have some type of influence or do some business out in Peaster.”
Peaster follows Weatherford ISD, Aledo ISD and Weatherford College, who each have their own education foundation.
“[The district] has just grown so much,” Dickey said. “Everyone’s heard of other education foundations but I don’t think anyone really had it on their radar that we were to that point yet.
“It’s one of those situations where you don’t really know you’re there until you’re there.”
A social media campaign that began a few weeks ago has already generated a positive response from the community, and the board’s goal right now is to bring awareness and ways to support the foundation in the initial funding stages.
“Right now, we’re just taking donations. We don’t have an event to sponsor or anything like that,” Dickey said. “Our goal is to get to $25,000. If we can get to that mark, we can run into 2021 and get an event planned and going, then also have a successful spring grant process in place.”
Because the education foundation is a 501(c)3, any donations or contributions are tax deductible. The funds will go directly into the school district, with the majority going toward grants and scholarships.