Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Ashland Schools Foundation?
The mission of the Ashland Schools Foundation is to support quality education in Ashland public schools through fund raising in the community.
The Ashland Schools Foundation (ASF) is a 501(c)(3), non-profit public benefit corporation, organized exclusively for educational and charitable purposes.
Who runs the Ashland Schools Foundation?
The ASF Board of Directors governs the Foundation. The Board is an independent, volunteer body with the powers and duties to provide fiscal guidance and governance for the Foundation.
The ASF Board makes all decisions regarding fund raising and allocation of funds.
The board represents a cross-section of the community interested in raising funds to help students, teachers and the schools. The ASF Board includes parents, business professionals, general community members, at least one Ashland School District teacher and one representative from the Ashland School Board. The Superintendent of Schools is a non-voting member of the ASF board. The ASF has an Executive Director who manages the ASF office and reports to the ASF Board of Directors.
As community members, members of the ASF board are united in their support of public education and their belief that quality public education is the backbone of our community.
The Ashland Schools Foundation works through a series of committees, with topics such as: Grants, Fund Development, School & Community Outreach, Marketing, Finance, and a number of Monster Dash committees. ASF welcomes parent and community involvement. If you are interested in being nominated for the ASF board, or would like to volunteer to help on ASF committees, please email the ASF office (firstname.lastname@example.org).
What is the relationship of ASF to Ashland School District?
The Ashland Schools Foundation is independent of the Ashland School District. ASF governance and decision-making are entirely separate from those of the District. ASF works closely, however, with District leadership to obtain information about District needs as identified by the Lead Team of administrators, teacher groups, and others within the District. This information is used in determining ASF goals for fundraising and fund allocation.
What is the relationship of the ASF to the School Board?
The Ashland School District #5 Board of Directors is comprised of five members who are elected by school district patrons (eligible voters living within the district boundaries) to represent their interests in District policy-making and budget development. The School Board is responsible for hiring the Superintendent.
The ASF is a non-governmental organization that was created by community members interested in helping the District provide the highest quality education possible for students through fund raising in the local community. The ASF keeps the School Board aware of its activities through reports at monthly school board meetings. One School Board member is appointed as liaison to the ASF Board and is a voting member. All projects funded by the ASF are supervised by District staff.
Is ASF involved in setting school policies?
The ASF is not involved in setting the governance or curriculum goals of the District. The ASF Board believes that trained educators and elected school board members are best qualified to make policy decisions about school matters.
What is the relationship between ASF and other fund raising organizations in the district?
The Foundation tries not to duplicate programs supported by PTA/PTO groups and program-specific groups like the Grizzly Booster Club and AHAA!, groups that are also providing enhanced social, educational and activity offerings in the district schools.
How does enhanced public education benefit me, and the Ashland community?
The most telling characteristic of a community is how it treats its children. Ashland school district patrons began in 1857 to work together and pay together to assist all of their children in becoming educated citizens. Those same values are present in our community today and are a major reason that Ashland attracts families seeking a great place to raise their children. Ashland residents have demonstrated for over 145 years that our kids are priceless and they are the cornerstones of our community’s future.
Other benefits of strong schools that you may not have considered:
- increase in real estate values - studies show school test scores play a significant role in the prediction of home sales prices
- the quality of locals schools is one of the most important factors in attracting the best doctors and other professionals to our community
- strong public schools are the cornerstone of a strong local economy, attracting both new businesses and their workforce members
- additionally, good schools attract good teachers, creating a positive cycle that makes our schools even better!
I don’t like what is going on with public school funding. Why should I donate?
Many parents and other community members are upset about the state of public school funding in Oregon over the past several decades.
The Ashland Schools Foundation does not control or direct any school funding decisions. Instead, it represents a means by which concerned parents and community members can make a real difference in the quality of education for Ashland students - by making private contributions that directly fund programs in Ashland schools. Regardless of the decisions made by state legislators and state voters, regardless of the decisions made by school boards and administrations, contributions to the Ashland Schools Foundation make a difference.
So the message of the Ashland Schools Foundation to the community is this: you can help, you can make a difference! We ask that members of the community set aside for a moment their opinions on specific issues and agree that we can all help our students and our schools through private contributions.
What about the Ashland Youth Academics and Activities Levy (YAAL)?
This critical program provides tax dollars from the community to provide additional funding to the Ashland schools through a Local Option Levy. Unlike the previous Youth Activities Levy, this new levy has the ability to fund core education along with youth activities. Without the YAAL, the school district would be in a much worse situation with class sizes higher and many extracurricular activities canceled. The Ashland Youth Academics and Activities Levy and private contributions to the Ashland Schools Foundation are two ways in which the Ashland community shows its support for its student population.
What is the difference between what the Ashland Youth Academics and Activities Levy funds and what ASF funds?
In the past, the Youth Activities Levy (YAL) has had very specific guidelines on what it could fund. The general rule was that it could fund students activities (sports, debate, etc) and any non-graded class such as elementary music and Spanish at AMS. There are no such constraints on the funds the Ashland Schools Foundation raises. Because the money is granted to the schools, the funds can be used to pay for core academic needs in the schools. Although the new Levy is also able to support core academics, there are more than enough academics that need funding!
How much should I donate?
We encourage you to give as much as you can afford. Some benchmarks to consider are: A private school tuition in Medford is $10,000. The cost of an 8% sales tax, in another state, for a family with a gross income of $50,000 and taxable purchases of $20,000 would be about $1600. $25 per month will bring $300 into the schools through ASF. Even a $1 donation tells us that you believe in what we’re doing, and that you want to be a part of it. Whatever you can give is appreciated!
I can't afford to pay a large lump sum - can I make smaller monthly donations?
Absolutely! The ASF can handle monthly, quarterly and semi-annual donations through several payment methods. You can choose to have payments charged to your credit card, or you can mail a check each month - we'll send you the reminder coupons! Please consider using one of these easy payment methods to increase your support.
How many people contributed last year?
Annually close to 1000 families, individuals, and businesses contribute to ASF. Some day we hope to increase our parent participation to 100%!
Can I restrict the use of my gift?
To maximize the impact of the money we raise together and allow the District to use ASF Grants in compliance with personnel contracts and other requirements, donated funds for our Annual Campaign in general must be unrestricted. We are willing to work with donors on restricted donations in certain circumstances, and we are the fiscal partners of some long-standing school programs such as AHS Theatre that do annual fundraising. Please contact the ASF office if you have a specific gift in mind.
If I give to the Campaign, won’t my gift reduce the state funding from Salem?
Absolutely NOT. These are private donations, not tax funds. They can accordingly be used for any proper purpose, without costing us one cent of Ashland’s public funds allotment from Salem. The Youth Academics and Activities Levy also does not reduce the funding from Salem as it is within the taxable amount permitted by state law.
Does ASF only support at-risk students?
No. ASF funds a variety of educational programs and projects. While the first Grants that the ASF offered were focused on the needs of at-risk students, the term at-risk refers to any student who is not thriving or is at risk for dropping out of school for any reason. Students at all levels of academic and social achievement must be actively engaged in their educational experience or they could be at-risk. ASF grants provide many opportunities to engage students at all educational levels and abilities in unique ways in their education.
Does ASF support sports?
No. ASF's funding goes toward academic education. While we recognize the important role that sports play in the lives of our students, there are other sources that financially support sports in the schools. We are, however, the fiscal sponsor for the district when they need to do a capital campaign for new facilites, even if it is sports related. This is why we have been involved in the Turf Field and new Track campaigns at Ashland High School in recent years.
Who decides where the money goes?
The ASF Board decides on the allocation of funds raised during the annual campaign. Funds are allocated to a variety of grants programs, and ASF operations. The ASF Board has committees that consider and debate the allocation of funds. The Grants committee accepts applications for Impact Grants from teachers and schools, the entire board works closely with the school district for allocation of the larger Education Support funds raised during the annual appeal. The ASF operations budget is kept to a minimum - around 15%, and a portion of that is covered by annual distributions from our Endowment Fund.
Where did last year’s money go?
See our grants page for details.