Why does Vestavia Hills need an educational fund?
1. Vestavia Hills has one of the highest tax bases in the state, why do we need a School Foundation?
Although our taxes are among some of the highest for the State of Alabama, they are not high in relations to other states even in the Southeast. In many areas where the taxes are high, parents must still bear the burden of private school tuition ranging anywhere from $5,000 to $18,000 per child per year. Vestavia Hills does not have a large commercial tax base to use to support our schools. There is always a struggle to get adequate funding from the State of Alabama. Since 2009 funding from the State of Alabama has been reduced/prorated over $5.7 million dollars. Even with reduced funding, the state continues to impose unfunded mandates on a regular basis. In 1996, the Vestavia Hills City Schools Foundation was created as an alternative means of funding for critical academic needs of the school system.
2. Why is the Foundation important to the Vestavia Hills City School System?
The Vestavia Hills School System is considered to be one of the tops in the state of Alabama and the Nation. In order to maintain that status, the district must continue to move forward. The VHCSF is providing a stable, ongoing and dependable source of income for the system no matter what the local or state funding situation is. This source of revenue will always be there; not to solve all budget problems, but to ensure that the teachers will have a dependable funding source for areas such as professional development, technology and classroom enhancements. This source of funding ensures that the Vestavia Hills schools will always be able to stay an education leader.
3. How does the Foundation work?
Funds invested in the Foundation are in a professionally managed endowment account. The objective of this account is to preserve the principal, while generating interest. The endowed principal can never be spent and can never be prorated by the state.
4. Is the Vestavia Hills City Schools Foundation independent of the school system?
Yes, the Foundation Board is composed of volunteers from the community who serve three year terms. The Board functions independently of the school system, but always with the needs of the school system in mind.
5. What are the top priorities for funding by the Foundation?
The Foundation focuses on funding three categories: Technology- improvements and upgrades, Professional Development- training for teachers, and Classroom Enhancements- items that can be used by numerous students and can be used for many years to come.
6. How are grants awarded to the schools?
Every fall the eight Vestavia Hills schools and the BOE submit grant requests to the Foundation Board. These grants are reviewed and awarded based on several factors. (1) does the request fall into one of the categories funded by the Foundation (2) does the request impact a large number of students (3) can the program be replicated in other schools?
7. How much money has been raised by the Foundation? How much money goes to the schools?
The Foundation currently has $2.5 million dollars invested in the education endowment. During the 20 years the Foundation has been in existence more than $784,000 in grants have been awarded to the eight schools and Board of Education. By growing the endowment to $5 million dollars, the foundation could greatly increase the amount of funds granted to the school and have the ability to fund ALL the requests submitted by the teachers and administrators.
8. Does the Foundation still need pledges?
YES!!!! The Foundation needs everyone in Vestavia Hills help to make this $5 million goal a reality. By making a pledge or donation to the Foundation Vestavia Hills residents have the opportunity to participate in a campaign that benefits EVERY STUDENT and TEACHER in the school system.
9. Is my donation to the Foundation tax deductible?
The Foundation is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization and contributions should qualify for charitable income tax deduction. Donors should contact their own tax advisor regarding individual situations.
10. How can I make a pledge?
Making a pledge is easy. Visit the Vestavia Hills City Schools Foundation website or Facebook page for information on how to make a pledge or donation. You can also contact the Foundation office at 205.978.8808 for more information.