Dear Outdoor Lab Supporter,
We were thrilled to announce a couple weeks ago, the Jeffco Budget Summit Committee supports the Outdoor Lab Community Task forced sustainability plan for the 2012/2013 school year, pending budget approval. This has been huge for the Lab schools and for the Foundation. This plan was carefully crafted by members of the community, the district, and the Foundation to create sustainability of the programs for now and into the future.
This great news means the doors of the schools will be open for the 2012-2013 school year, but that does not mean the schools are funded. It is now our turn to go out to do the hard work to fund the programs through capital funding, assisting sixth graders in raising their tuition and helping the Lab Schools fund their staffing through grants and sponsorships.
Many have questions about what the sustainability plan entails. The largest piece is the tuition. Kids and their families have always paid tuition for the lab schools, but this new requirement is that each SCHOOL will be responsible for the tuition of their students (based on a tiered system for free and reduced lunch penetration). The current average pay rate for kids going to the schools is about 67%. This means that there is a deficit in payment. As a Foundation, we have systems in place to help the kids pay their tuition through our easy King Soopers Card Program, which allows each individual student to earn tuition through using their cards, AND have programs ready to help the PTAs, PTOs and principals raise the additional funds necessary. We are also involving civic groups that want to see EVERY school continue to go to the Lab schools.
The next area of the plan is capital improvements. Both schools are historical landmarks and on the historic registry, but this means they are also OLD sites. They have serious needs to keep them up to the standards that our kids deserve. The Foundation is taking on the long-term funding of these capital improvements. This is done through our fundraising, particularly our upcoming Outdoor Lab Foundation Gala and sponsorship as well as seeking grants to help us with these projects.
Finally, the Lab schools themselves have to make major cuts to stay operational. These cuts are going to be severe. The Foundation is working hard to create relationships with private companies and seeking grants to help pay for crucial clinic staff, interns, food service managers and the likes.
We continue to be passionate about the Outdoor Lab schools and the good work they do with all the kids. We know that with your help we can create another 50 years of legacy for the Outdoor Lab Schools.
If you want to help sustain our schools, please donate now.