"We just want to do all we can to inspire the community and parents to participate with the school district in enriching the education," said Randy York, president of the foundation.
In January 2004, the Sikeston Board of Education decided to increase the number of trustees from five to nine to develop a new focus for the foundation.
"Sikeston's always been a community that has taken great pride in our schools and are very supportive of schools any time they're asked to do so," York said.
Most recently the community's support was displayed by the passing of the bond issue for the construction of a math and science building on the high school campus, York pointed out.
"In keeping with that, we want to do all we can to encourage all students to work to their best potential and provide professional growth opportunities for the teaching staff in the school system," York said.
One of the ways the foundation is hoping to achieve its goals is through a part-time executive director -- a newly created position filled by Sikeston resident Robin Stoner.
"I'm really excited about the possibilities and what the foundation can potentially do for the school system," said Stoner who began working as the executive director Oct. 17.
Currently Stoner's office is located in Suite B at 603 S. Main St. When reconstruction work at the district's Board of Education office is completed, Stoner will relocate to the office.
As executive director, Stoner, who previously worked for the American Cancer Society, is responsible for fund-raising efforts for the foundation and helping fulfill teacher's requests of unmet needs for the classroom, supplies, athletics, special field trips and other needs that cannot be met through existing budget constraints, York said.
A private, not-for-profit organization, the foundation was established in 1989 for the purpose of encouraging and financially supporting educational opportunities for all students and staff in the R-6 District. Since that time, the foundation has provided $20,500 to graduating R-6 seniors.
"Historically, the foundation has granted between one and three scholarships every year to graduating seniors of Sikeston High School. Also we have administered some designated scholarships for people and some requests to the school system that needed a vehicle for managing money," York said. The foundation, which is run entirely off donations, operates independently of the R-6 school board and administration; however they do work closely together, York said.
Individuals and businesses are allowed to make tax-deductible contributions or bequests for the purpose of providing scholarships, special equipment and programs that may otherwise not be available in the public schools. They contribute to the foundation by making an annual gift in the form of cash or securities, making a deferred gift or making a memorial gift.
The foundation meets the fourth Tuesday of every month. In addition to York, the Foundation Board of Directors is comprised of Sharon Black, Ellen Brandom, Steve Millington, Sally Boyer Lape, Fred Steward, Nonie Fuchs, Julie Crader Dolan and Ann Jones.
"We still have a lot to do and very much in infancy, and we're all very excited where we're headed and getting the community involved," York said.
The foundation will kick off its first fund-raiser from 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday during "McTeacher's Night" at the two McDonald's in Sikeston. Twenty-five percent of the night's sales will be donated back to the Sikeston Public Schools, York said.
"Any dream that anyone might have for the school system may very well be possible and possibly accomplished through the partnership of the foundation."
For more information about the foundation or to make a contribution, contact Stoner at (573) 472-8833.