Educational Funding To Help School Districts

NORTH MANHEIM TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- Because of a lack of general government funding, school districts across our area are coming up with ways to pay for educational programs for students.

But where does the money come from if it's not from the state and federal governments?

Some school districts have had to shut down student programs and organizations due to a lack of financial support, but other districts are thriving, thanks to educational foundations.

Students at Blue Mountain High School are exposed to a large number of academic and extracurricular organizations.

"The money and the funds and the things to buy the equipment and the materials were supplied by them, so it's great to have those type of supportive community members," said Blue Mountain Superintendent David Helsel.

The Eagles even have their own television studio and impressive STEM programs, but how is all of this made possible?

Due to a lack of general government funding, the district came up with The Eagle Foundation in the late 1990s -- an educational foundation that raises money through donations and philanthropy that rewards school districts with funding for student organizations.

This has become a popular trend for districts across our area.

"How many times have we heard the story about the teacher that would bring in a little bit of this, a little bit of that for their classroom. Now they've got somebody else they can come to and say, 'Hey, we have a great program. We need some funding,'" said Eagle Foundation's Vicki Heiser.

The Tamaqua Area School District started an educational foundation in 2009 called the Blue Raider Foundation.

Beth Dal Santo served as a consultant to help assist with those efforts. She is currently working with the Wyoming Valley West School District to get its foundation up and running.

"It's so hard sometimes for districts to make ends meet. There was just a group of concerned citizens who wanted to help education better in this school district," said Dal Santo.

The Eagle Foundation adds the goal of these educational foundations is to give students experiences they otherwise wouldn't get.