Watervliet Education Foundation gets underway

Don Campbell / HP staff Watervliet High School

WATERVLIET — After months of planning, the Watervliet Education Foundation is becoming a reality. 

Joe Allen, North Elementary School principal, told the Watervliet school board Monday night that the group of community members just held their first organized meeting. 

“We were able to form a board for the foundation, they approved the bylaws and now they’re getting ready to meet at the beginning of March for their second meeting,” he said. “They’re going to look at the committees and start doing some more work of the formation of what’s going to happen in the next few years.”

When the school board approved a set of goals for themselves last August, one of those goals was to create a school foundation. Former Superintendent Kevin Schooley started to put it together and Allen took it over when Schooley went to South Haven schools. 

Serving as president of the foundation’s board is Barry Nelson. Mark Lambrecht is vice president and Barb Schofield is the secretary. Allen said there are a number of other trustees serving on the board too. 

Nelson said it’s going to be a pleasure to form the foundation. 

“The people I am working with are really working hard. We do have some things we’re going to be looking at,” he said. 

One of those things is making the Watervliet Education Foundation a registered 501(c)(3). 

“There’s a charity foundation and a private foundation and we want to be a charity foundation,” Nelson said. “It’s a very lengthy process ... They do not want to give these out willy nilly. We have to and want to earn it.”

The upcoming meetings are at 7 p.m. March 4, Aug. 5, Oct. 7 and a reorganizational meeting on Jan. 6, 2020, all in the high school media center. 

School board Trustee Ted Tees said he’s really glad this is going forward. 

“It could bring a great deal to not only the community, but especially the school district,” he said. 

Board President Bill Spaulding said he’s delighted to hear about the progress. 

“What you folks have accomplished in the last few months is phenomenal,” he said. 

In other business, interim Superintendent John Jarpe reminded the school board of the dates for the upcoming special meetings to choose a new superintendent. 

The board will meet Feb. 25 to hear about the candidates and pick who to interview; March 4, 5 and 6 to do the first round of interviews; and March 12 and 13 for a second round of interviews. The board will make its decision by March 18. 

All of those meetings are at 6:30 p.m. in the high school media center. 

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