Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Birdville Education Foundation?The Birdville Education Foundation (BEF) is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit, tax-exempt organization comprised of a diverse board of volunteers - parents, business people, alumni, educators and others who are committed to strengthening educational opportunities within the community.What is the Foundation’s purpose?The purpose of Birdville Education Foundation is to support and promote innovative and creative educational opportunities for students of all ages. The Foundation will support and encourage learning in BISD by:
- Fostering community wide passion for learning through new and extraordinary learning, artistic, and cultural experiences;
- Offering financial support to educational programs that are unique, enriching and innovatively enhance the curriculum and our community; and
- Providing the public with an avenue to show support for learning through targeted gifts, honor and memorial contributions, and other donations.
What kinds of programs might the Birdville Education Foundation sponsor?BEF initiatives will generally fall into one of 2 broad categories with distribution of funds between Classroom Initiatives and School Programming. Examples of discussed activities that may be financially supported may include (but are not limited to) the following for each category:
The types of programs that the Birdville Education Foundation plans to support will benefit Birdville students of all ages and take place both within and outside of BISD. Within the schools, funds to be distributed by are not intended to replace or relieve the existing responsibility for public funding of school programs, nor are they intended to substitute for regular budget growth and maintenance.Classroom Initiatives
- grants to support innovative learning
- grants to bring in hands-on learning activities to support approved curriculum (i.e. science kits)
- grants for special classroom purchases to support approved curriculum
- enriching after-school instruction and activities
- school clubs
- technology enhancements
- school-readiness programming
- reading initiatives (i.e. summer reading program)
- financing of various departments and programs of BISD
BEF recognizes that learning is a lifelong process and that presenting learning opportunities to residents of all ages has a benefit to individuals, families, and society as a whole. Additionally, learning foundations:
- cultural presentations
- one time or annual events such as a spelling bee, career day, science fair
- educational presentations
- guest authors, science, social studies speakers
Will the foundation’s work increase our school or town budget and, therefore, our taxes?No. The foundation was formed precisely because people have recognized that it is increasingly difficult to expand funding levels necessary to bring exciting educational opportunities to our town and schools through municipal funding. BEF will therefore seek other sources of financing to augment public funds.Where does the Foundation get its funds?The BEF seeks donations from individuals, businesses, private and public grant sources and through fundraising activities. The entire budget of the foundation will be raised privately from sources committed to excellence in education for our communityWhat is the Foundation’s relationship with the Board of Education?The Foundation is a non-political entity independent of both the Board of Education and the schools. The Foundation may supplement current school board priorities but it is not a substitute for them, nor is the Foundation simply a routine alternative funding source for the schools. The BEF seeks to seed promising pilot projects and encourage innovation in teaching and learning. The Foundation will not fund items and programs considered to be a normal part of the annual school budget. The Superintendent of Schools and the school board president and vice-president serve as ex-officios without voting privilege to provide input on current educational trends and ensure that BEF funded programs are consistent with the mission of BISD.
- Allow schools and communities to offer a breadth of programs what would not otherwise be available due to budget shortfalls through augmentation of municipal and school budgets
- Engage new partners and deepen community support for learning.
- Provide tax-deductible opportunities to support educating Colchester residents
- Promote public/private partnerships and enable Birdville citizens to benefit from corporate grants and matching gifts
Is the idea for an Education Foundation unique to Texas?No.How can members of the community benefit from the foundation?We view education not as something narrowly restricted to our schools, but as involving children and adults of all ages in a variety of settings. Our programs will seek to be of benefit to the community as a whole. Each proposed project will be evaluated for its potential impact on the entire community and for possible avenues for collaboration between the Foundation and existing community groups.What is the history of the Birdville Education Foundation?Since it’s creation in 1996, the Birdville Foundation for Educational Excellence was established as a result of visionary leaders who approached the district about granting Freeport Exemption status to eligible companies in the taxing district. The plan provided start-up money for a Foundation supporting BISD students by preventing revenue shortfalls to BISD for a period of 3 years. This gave the exemptions time to encourage new businesses to the area. Three of the seven founding businesses are still doing business today in our district.The foundation has funded projects that included paying for qualified students’ uniforms, extended day tuition, staff development, and payment of AP exam fees. In 2000, the foundation implemented a Grant Award program for innovative teaching that directly impacts instruction. To date, the foundation has awarded $700,000 in grant money to over 300 teachers in all 31 BISD campuses. Some projects awarded have been Smart Boards, preparation programs to master TAKS objectives, document cameras, lab sets, reading manipulative devices, and language programs.How can I become a supporter?
Individuals, businesses, community groups, and civic organizations are invited to become supporters with a tax-deductible contribution that can be matched by several area employers. Volunteers and pro-bono services are always welcome. Also, the BEF Board of Directors may be seeking new members.Please mail a tax-deductible donation today. Our community is worth the investment.