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Concerned parents start Potsdam Educational Opportunities Fund

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POTSDAM - Last year when the Potsdam Central School District was looking at a budget that cut jobs and programs, a group of concerned parents approached the district wondering how they could help.

“Last May we heard from a variety of parents from Clarkson University who wanted to help the district and now we’re beginning to mold this all together,” said Superintendent Patrick H. Brady.

One of those parents was Devon A. Shipp.

“The idea was we wanted to fill some gaps in the budget, but we realized that wasn’t going to be easy to do,” Mr. Shipp said.

The fund will be managed by the Northern New York Community Foundation and donations to it will be tax deductible.

“At the moment we’re looking for people to fill out our advisory committee,” he said, adding the members will work to seek grants and donations and then help distribute the funding.

The district’s athletic department already has a booster club of its own as does its music program.

Mr. Brady said the group’s advisory committee will ultimately decide where its money goes, but the district will advise them of its needs each year.

“This will be an independent group,” he said. “They have control over where the money will go, but the board had input about what our needs our.”

Mark R. Frascatore will serve as a liaison between the board and the group, which Mr. Shipp said will ultimately have between seven and nine members.

According to a PowerPoint presentation posted on the district’s website, the group’s draft mission statement reads, “The purpose of the fund is to raise funds and make strategic investments in order to benefit primary and secondary students in the Potsdam area. The fund is dedicated to supporting the mission of promoting academic excellence, a rigorous curriculum, and well-rounded students prepared for college and the world of work that all students have the opportunity to succeed.”

The goal of the group is to raise “tens of thousands of dollars” each year.

While the idea may have originated from a group of Clarkson employees, Mr. Shipp said it’s his goal to have the advisory board represent a broad scope of the community with representatives from SUNY Potsdam, Canton-Potsdam Hospital and other organizations also participating.

People interested in serving on the advisory committee, assisting the group or making a donation may contact Mr. Shipp at 268-2393.

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