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Benson teacher forms foundation

WILLMAR -- Classrooms in Benson Public Schools will soon have a new source to help pay for materials and equipment. The Benson Public Schools Braves Foundation will have its official kickoff activities this month, with a booth at the Swift County...

WILLMAR - Classrooms in Benson Public Schools will soon have a new source to help pay for materials and equipment.
The Benson Public Schools Braves Foundation will have its official kickoff activities this month, with a booth at the Swift County Fair next week and with tailgating Aug. 28 at the school’s first home football game.
Scott Gonnerman, a Benson teacher and a chairman of the foundation board, said talk of a school foundation started in 2013, at a time the School Board was talking about budget cuts.
He did some research and talked to people connected to other education foundations in the area.
He asked a few others to serve on a committee to get the foundation off the ground.
Organizers of the 100-year all-school reunion joined in, and “everything started falling into place.”
Seed money came from the Galen Hanson Memorial Education Endowment Fund ($5,000) and the Benson Community Foundation ($1,000).
Paperwork took the most time, Gonnerman said. The foundation needed bylaws, and it took several months to have the tax-exempt status approved.
The foundation is now ready to accept donations “for the betterment of students and classrooms,” he said.
Donations of any size are appreciated, Gonnerman said. “Any amount can help the students and the school district,” he added. “We’re excited for it, and we’re hoping we’re able to do a lot of good things for the school district.”
Superintendent Dennis Laumeyer said the foundation has the potential to help the school district in many ways. He is also a member of the foundation board.
“We’ve had a very supportive community and alumni in scholarships,” he said. “This is an opportunity to enhance the great things we are already doing.”
The foundation can be a big help in sustaining the ongoing need for updated technology, Laumeyer said.
Keeping up with technology advances in all subject areas can be difficult, he said.
“We want them to be prepared for life after high school,” he said.
That includes access to current technology in a variety of fields, such as industrial technology and agriculture, Laumeyer added.
The foundation board will decide how the money is spent based on requests it receives, Laumeyer said. All of the money donated will be spent on the schools, with no overhead costs.
A donation to the foundation can be directed to three funds: The Universal Fund is the most flexible, allowing the foundation board to direct the funding where it’s most needed.
The Education Fund will be dedicated to providing curriculum and improving education programs.
The Technology and Equipment Fund will help keep up with changes in technology.
The foundation board plans to distribute the money it raises each year and does not plan to establish an endowment fund.

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