Business partnerships help Davis schools thrive

Feb 15 2012 - 7:41pm

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The year was 1926. School libraries needed books. Orchestras were being formed in schools, but needed instruments. Sports teams were looking for more equipment. And the PTA wanted hot lunch served in schools.

The drawback? No funding for all of the requests.

Ever since the Davis School District was formed on July 17, 1911, funding from state and local taxes, bonds and other sources has not covered the various needs of schools. In an effort to supplement that funding, schools and teachers have learned to be creative in their efforts to provide more microscopes, purchase art supplies and make their classrooms a better learning environment.

In 1926, the PTA agreed to provide the meat if the district would provide equipment for hot lunches. Students also donated vegetables from home. Cookie sales raised money to pay for equipment and help.

When playground requests came in, PTAs were again instrumental in raising most of the funds.

Other funding requests were covered by partnerships with civic groups and businesses. When schools began to see a need for a school nurse in 1922, the Red Cross stepped in and offered to pay half of the nurse's salary.

Creative funding continues today with invaluable business partnerships. Those partnerships ensure students can take field trips, expensive supplies can be purchased for music and art classes and technology can be placed in classrooms.

Recently, 224 teachers in the Davis School District received funding for classroom projects through a partnership with Chevron. During the month of October Chevron's Fuel Your School program committed to donate $1 to school programs for every gas purchase of eight gallons or more.

The result was more than $130,714 for classrooms throughout the county. Teachers hoping for funding placed their projects on DonorsChoose.org. Those projects not funded by Chevron may still be funded through private and other business donations.

"There are so many things Chevron could do with its time and money," said District Communication and Partnerships Director Christopher Williams. "This is just another example of the commitment the company has to education."

Chevron is not the only company forming partnerships with Davis School District schools. Lakeview Hospital has hosted a softball tournament for the last two years. Money raised is donated to individual schools.

Schools individually have also benefited from business partnerships. Recently, Knowlton Elementary in Farmington received $17,509 from Smith's Food and Drug Centers. The Earn and Learn program rewards schools whose parents sign up their student's school on their Fresh Values card numbers and then shop at the store.

West Bountiful Elementary has more technology in its classrooms thanks to a $32,000 grant from Holly Refinery in Woods Cross. Principal Molly Fletcher said the school gets about $5,000 annually from the refinery. The added funding allowed the school to put together a portable computer lab and take field trips to the Leonardo museum.

The Davis Education Foundation is the fundraising arm of the Davis School District. Both Lakeview and Chevron have also been major sponsors of the foundation's annual gala. Through business partnerships, the foundation annually funds more than $50,000 in classroom grants, helps nearly 100 low-income students start the school year with new clothing and puts books into the hands of struggling readers.

This year, the gala will focus on the district's Centennial and 100 years of learning. The April 27 event will be held at the Davis Conference Center. The evening includes a gourmet dinner and a silent and live auction.

"This year's gala is going to be unbelievable," said Williams. "Instead of hiring outside talent, we have turned to our students. We recently held more than two dozen auditions. The talent that will be showcased that evening will absolutely knock your socks off. I can't wait to see the students perform."

Gala table reservations can be made by calling Partnerships Specialist Sherry Miggin at 801-402-5182. Individual tickets may also be purchased. Additionally, businesses are invited to donate auction items. For more information on how to make a donation, contact Cathy Jensen at 801-402-5182.

Shauna Lund is the Communication Specialist for the Davis School District. Historical information courtesy of histories written by Les Foy and Glen M. Leonard. For more about the Centennial Celebration, go to www.davis.k12.ut.us/dsd/centennial

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