Archive for Sunday, June 22, 2008

Merger of education boards expected

Lawrence Education Achievement Partners and Schools Foundation to combine forces

Two charities that serve Lawrence schools are gearing up for a board merger. Leaders of the Lawrence Schools Foundation and Lawrence Education Achievement Partners have agreed to join forces.

June 22, 2008


Two boards that support Lawrence students and schools are expected to merge, although the public likely won't notice a difference in services, organizers said.

At their 7 p.m. Monday meeting, Lawrence school board members will consider allowing the Lawrence Education Achievement Partners, or LEAP, board to fall under the authority of the Lawrence Schools Foundation, the major fundraising organization for the district.

"The public shouldn't see any difference at all. The schools shouldn't see any difference at all," said Susan Esau, executive director of both organizations. "Our plan is to continue the programs just like they are now."

Last week, both boards unanimously supported a merger that would put four LEAP board members on the foundation's board. Remaining LEAP board members would likely serve on committees to continue to help schools form partnerships with businesses and organizations.

The foundation and LEAP have shared the same staff for 18 months, and they decided a merger was the next logical step, Esau said. Having one board will also help increase communication between the two programs, she said.

The four LEAP board members will still oversee the LEAP Council, and they will continue to seek business partnerships for financial and volunteer contributions to schools and the district.

During the 2006-2007 school year, LEAP contributions totaled nearly $800,000 of donations, in-kind contributions and volunteer hours.

The schools foundation also provided $280,000 in support to schools in 2007. The foundation supports the district's early childhood program, awards teacher grants and other scholarships.

The foundation's main fundraiser is the Community Education Breakfast, and leaders hope to raise $50,000 this year.

KU alumnus and 1982 Lawrence High graduate Brian McClendon, engineering director for Google Earth and Google Maps, will be the keynote speaker for the 2008 Community Education Breakfast at 7:30 a.m. Sept. 5 at the Lawrence Holidome, 200 McDonald Drive.


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