Alumni Giving Letter

20 Jan 2014

Dear Classmate,

Our 50th reunion was a special experience. It was fascinating to reunite with so many classmates in 2011 and learn how everyone’s life has evolved. We suspect that many of us have been moved by these reunions over the years to reflect on the lasting benefit each of us received from the outstanding education that Webster schools provided us 50 years ago.

Your Reunion Committee concurs, and suggests that the Class of 1961 mark this occasion by helping enhance the great educational experience for future students in the Webster Groves School District. A new model for financing public K-12 education is emerging – one that can no longer rely solely on property tax revenues and state subsidies to provide a quality education to our future citizens. Private philanthropy will play a role in determining outcomes for the kids of today and tomorrow. There are two ways we can participate in this public/private “partnership”:

(1)The Webster Groves School District Foundation, established in 1988, supports the faculty and staff of the District by funding professional development, special innovative projects and other educational activities that enrich the experiences of students and teachers. These activities could not be undertaken without Foundation support- they are not funded by the District. Thus, it raises the level of teaching competency, innovation and achievement in Webster Groves by channeling community and alumni support to initiatives proposed by teachers and approved for funding by the Foundation. The Foundation works closely with the District, but remains an independent entity that is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors. Also, this level of community support clearly makes the Webster schools more attractive to highly capable teachers and administrators, both now and into the future, as well as to families with a commitment to the education of children. Two members of the Class of ’61 will be appointed to the review panel that approves all Foundation grants. A recent foundation initiative funded a robotics club at the high school.

 

(2) The Latta Scholarship Fund. Latta scholarships are awarded each year to WGHS graduating seniors by a faculty committee and are based on scholarship, need and citizenship.

***

We have two avenues in which you may participate. Information on both is available on our ’61 website  as well as pledge forms. If you have any questions please feel free to call/email any member of your Class Gift Committee below; contact info is on our website in the Class database.

We have set an aggressive goal of $61,000 for our Class gift. Commitments to this initiative can be in the form of pledges that can be fulfilled in installments over a period of up to five years … they can take the form of cash contributions now, or a combination of some cash now and additional cash installments over 4 more years.

Each recipient- the Foundation, and the Latta Scholarship are 501c3 entity are fully tax-deductible on income and estate tax returns. Also-please consider whether your current or former employer will match some or all of your contribution.

You may also make a bequest or grant to any or all of the three in an estate planning document such as your will/trust or via a 401k/IRA beneficiary form; you should consult your attorney on these avenues but please inform us if you do so.

  You may also be able to make a contribution from your IRA/401(k) directly to the Foundation or Latta Scholarship; the remittance would be coming from your fund custodian so be sure to alert us so we can watch for it and get it credited to the Class of ’61 Gift.  You should consult your tax advisor, we believe such gifts up to $100k per year have no impact on your taxes- no taxable income to you, no tax deduction for you.

So far we have 3 lead pledges of $5,000 or more, and 10 of $1,000 or more so we are well on our way. Please join us!

Your Class Gift Committee (below) believes this is something really worth doing. It not only demonstrates our gratitude for the blessings we have received, but also puts in place a structure for perpetual payback that benefits future Webster generations.

Please join us in making a commitment to even greater excellence in Webster schools. If you have questions or comments, please get in touch with any member of the Class Gift Committee. We hope to hear from you soon, and look forward to the meaningful impact our great Class of ‘61 can have on the future of education in Webster Groves.

Classmate(s) will sit on the committee reviewing grant applications.

PAY IT FORWARD!

1961 CLASS GIFT COMMITTEE

 

Kathy Walker (Pratt), Co-Chair

  Harley Smith, Co-Chair

                                   Judy McCarron (Klingbiel)                             

Bob Johnson        Lee Curtis

                                      Marilyn Culp (Meier)                                      

Dave Hopmann

Why Give to the Webster Groves School District’s Alumni Office? 

This is a unique opportunity to make a contribution that will affect education in WGSD for years to come. A gift can make a difference in the educational experience of all high school students. WGHS alumni know the quality of education they received here and now it’s time to help the district continue to do that for future generations. The Arts and Science Campaign offers alumni the opportunity to help students have modern equipment to go with a state-of-the art facility (paid for through Prop W). Currently, about 90 percent of the district’s budget comes from local property taxes. The remainder about 10% is state funding and/or other revenue sources. Assessed valuation of property has declined again this year and state funding has decreased. The district has no control over either of these factors. In recent years, the district has worked hard to keep any budget increases to a minimum.  Operating expenses have increased less than twopercent in the past two years.  This includes utility costs, health care costs and salaries. The current budget year reflects similar trends. Some of the measures WGSD has taken to limit budget increases include:All schools and departments held back ten percent of their budgets for last school year and this year.District has moved to self-insurance through the Cooperating School Districts Trust which has resulted in lower health insurance increasesThe district increased the budget two percent last year for teachers’ salaries. There was no increase to the budget for administrator salaries.The district has reduced building and grounds expenditures WGSD has planned carefully how to make the most of available resources. As the year progresses, it will continue to look for means to stretch its revenues. Alumni can donate to the Arts and Science campaign through the Alumni Office at www.wgartsci.org

 Additional reading on this subject in the St. Louis area

:http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/education/our-schools-escaped-the-economic-downturn---so-far/article_8fbf0a95-65ee-5097-a114-942c274e6ca7.html http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/education/schools-struggle-with-dwindling-interest-income/article_4b54dda0-dc14-5a35-83bf-17ff1a2ffff0.html  

 Stephanie Batson
Development DirectorWebster Groves School District
314-918-4007