One of Lafayette schools Superintendent Donald Aguillard’s resolutions for 2016 is to grow a $3,600 pot of money in a fund earmarked for the school system and use it to support school projects.
The Lafayette Parish Fund for Academic Excellence was created in late 2012 with board approval and is managed by the Community Foundation of Acadiana. At the time, then-Superintendent Pat Cooper pushed for the fund creation as a way for the community to donate directly to a specific school or project and earmark how their money is spent.
But in the past few years, the account has been dormant with about $3,600 sitting in the fund, Aguillard said.
“We’re going to launch in 2016 an awareness campaign about the Lafayette Parish Fund for Academic Excellence and encourage people to contribute or create an endowment to support education in the parish,” Aguillard said.
Aguillard said he’s still learning about the fund and how it may be used. When it was created, the plan was for an advisory board of volunteers appointed by the superintendent and Community Foundation of Acadiana to oversee the fund and decide how donations not earmarked for specific purposes would be spent.
In late 2012, the idea was that principals would provide a list of needs to the foundation for donors to review and decide whether they wanted to donate to a particular project. Within the first months of its creation, donations helped support Northside High students’ mock trial team trip to New York for a competition and for electronic readers for elementary school students.
Aguillard said the school system is working with other funding partners to create new educational initiatives for students, as well.
“We also have relationships with the United Way of Acadiana and the Lafayette Education Foundation, and encourage people to donate to those organizations in support of our students,” he said.
Aguillard said he and Chief Academic Officer Annette Samec recently met with the Lafayette Education Foundation to discuss its funding of a summer reading program at three elementary schools — Alice Boucher, J.W. Faulk and Carencro Heights — that have a large percentage of struggling students.
“They’re struggling schools, and there’s always a dip between May and the beginning of August when students regress over the summer,” Samec said. “We don’t want a program that just puts the book in the students’ hands but supports them during the summer.”
Follow Marsha Sills on Twitter, @Marsha_Sills.