District 88 has needed all the financial help it can get in recent years. We've outlined many times in the past the challenges created by stagnant state financing and falling local enrollments. It has seemed the district's only recourse has been to ask taxpayers for tax levy increases to avoid making more and more program cuts.
After one such request failed in 2011, a lot of people thought there must be a better way. The Friends of ISD 88 was formed to raise money on a short term basis for the district, to give people who wanted to help a way to give. That organization has raised over $70,000 in the past couple of years.
At the same time, planning began for an ISD 88 Community Foundation, a long-term, non-profit group that would create an endowment fund for the district to help preserve educational quality. That group is about ready to kick off its efforts in July. Foundation chair Tracy Vranich has been speaking to service clubs in advance of the group's July 20 kickoff.
The ISD 88 Community Foundation will be a 501c3 organization (as soon as the IRS comes through with the approval - it shouldn't take much longer, since the group doesn't have Tea Party or Constitution or Patriot in its name). It hopes to create a $1 million fund, which will provide sufficient interest income to provide grants for improving educational quality in the district. The foundation aims to form partnerships between the school, the community and alumni for the betterment of education in New Ulm.
This is certainly a worthwhile endeavor. The Journal encourages readers to watch for news of the kickoff and to do what they can to support this new group.