|Last year facing a major budget shortfall and a
multimillion dollar building program on the horizon, the Loudon County
School Board inexplicably voted to take $16,000.00 from their
maintenance funds to donate to a local non profit organization.
The Loudon County Education Foundation had requested the donation to help support their operations. The foundation purports to benefit both Lenoir City and Loudon County school systems with various assistance programs.
The most recent financial statement available for the foundation shows that nearly 64% of their $119,000 budget went to foundation salaries and operations.
After last year's donation board member Lisa Russell
requested an Attorney General's opinion on the matter through state
representative Jimmy Matlock. The Attorney General's opinion states that
a board of education has no authority to make donations to non-profits.
With this year's budget even tighter and the attorney general's opinion stating the donation would be illegal, the Loudon County Education Foundation is again back with their hand out. They're again asking for another $16,000.00.
Education Foundation's are not new. Many schools and districts in Knox and surrounding counties are supported by foundations. However the Loudon County Education Foundation appears to be the only one who takes money from the schools rather than giving to the schools. Last year Loudon County Schools gave the foundation $16,000.00 and Lenoir City Schools gave the foundation $8,000.00.
One foundation in Knox County raised $200,000.00 their school. The Oak Ridge Foundation raised more than 8 million dollars for the school's building program. But in Loudon County, our foundation needs the school systems to support them.
To Director Wayne Honeycutt's credit, he informed the foundation and the school board that depending on how this year's budget turns out, "we may not have sixteen dollars to give away.
Below is a link to a story about area foundations.
School Foundation: Who Has One, Who Wants One And Why