A foundation is being established to support student activities, Superintendent of Schools Steve Gomes told Merced County Board of Education members Monday afternoon.
It will be called the MCOE Foundation, to benefit the Merced County Office of Education, Gomes explained, and the first organizational meeting of the five-member board will be held in the next couple of weeks. All areas of the county will be represented and board terms will be three years with staggered expiration dates.
Gomes said county schools offices in Stanislaus, Fresno and Tulare counties have had similar foundations for years, and that the organizations have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for educational causes.
Many groups that award grants want to work with a nonprofit group rather than a school agency.
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"We are going to start out small but hopefully will grow," Gomes said. "Times are hard, but people are willing to give. We will be focused on student activities. We always need money to support activities."
Atwater Mayor Joan Faul is joining the foundation board. A semiretired educator, Faul said the foundation is another way of supporting students and that the Merced County Office of Education does a tremendous job.
Gomes said there are a lot of expenses attached to MCOE- sponsored events — such as the Academic Decathlon, spelling bee and essay contests — with which the foundation might help, as well as helping the Camp Green Meadows outdoor education program.
Realtor Steve Tinetti also is joining the foundation board. He said it's important to help educational causes.
Board member Michele Fagundes said she's looking forward to seeing good things happen with the foundation. She said Gomes has a solid vision for school programs.
I'm accepting it (the foundation appointment) with lots of enthusiasm," Fagundes said. The other board members will be Michael Villalta and Rhonda Walton.
Reporter Doane Yawger can be reached at (209) 385-2407 or firstname.lastname@example.org.