The Oak Ridge Public Schools Education Foundation recently made its eighth annual contribution for the rebuilding and renovation of Oak Ridge High School, a project that was completed in 2008.
In November, Lila Metcalf, the foundation’s executive director, presented a check for $402,611 to Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson to assist in the high school debt repayment. Since the payments began in 2005, the Education Foundation has presented the city with more than $3.5 million for the high school.
The Education Foundation raised $8 million in private funds for the high school, and that money provided the leverage for special bonds available for public schools. Together, the private funds and bonds provided the final piece of funding that made the renovation of Oak Ridge High School possible.
The foundation’s annual contributions will help the city repay an estimated $8 million that the high school project is receiving from the Qualified Zone Academy Bonds, a federal program of bonds issued by the Tennessee School Bond Authority. The QZAB program required private matching funds of $1 million. That amount was included in the $8 million the Education Foundation raised from federal contractors, businesses, and individuals, Metcalf said.
“The Oak Ridge Public Schools Education Foundation continued to meet its commitment to retire a series of bonds known as Qualified Zone Academy Bonds,” Watson said. “The complex funding mechanism for the renovation of Oak Ridge High School four years ago would not have been possible without the foundation ‘stepping up to the plate’ to insure that $8 million of the total $66.5 million cost would be secured by our private corporations and individuals dedicated to continuing the excellence that Oak Ridge High School is known for.”
“The City of Oak Ridge is strongly appreciative of that dedication and commitment to the education of our youth, and we thank them,” Watson said. The Education Foundation will continue to contribute to the city on an annual basis to repay the bonds, with the payment term ending around 2020 or 2021.
The Education Foundation is currently conducting a campaign to raise $500,000 in private contributions to ensure that the Foundation’s annual grant awards continue to make a significant and critical difference to our schools. The campaign, “Making the Critical Difference,” will expand and sustain the Foundation’s Grants Program, providing one-time grants to teachers for resources that enhance learning for students. The grants, most in the range of $500 to $5,000, are awarded each spring on a competitive basis in response to proposals submitted by teachers and approved by the administration and the Foundation board.
The Oak Ridge Public Schools Education Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded in 2000, invests in the Oak Ridge Public Schools to ensure the highest quality of education for its students. The foundation, providing funds beyond public tax dollars for education, raises funds through grants and private donations to invest in enhanced educational programming, innovative technology, and state-of-the-art facilities for teachers and students.
For more information about making a donation to the Oak Ridge Public Schools Education Foundation, call the foundation office at (865) 241-3667 or see the foundation’s website at www.orpsef.org.