Collins Hill forms fundraising group

SUWANEE - School and community leaders have formed a new foundation for the Collins Hill cluster, allowing more local schools to raise money through private contributions.

The cluster will join several others in Gwinnett County, including Grayson, North Gwinnett and Peachtree Ridge, in using a private organization to increase funding for public school programs.

Glenn McFall, principal of Collins Hill High School, had served on the original Foundation Task Force and was pleased with the results.

"The Collins Hill Education Foundation is a great way to provide resources to innovative academic programs at the school and classroom level," McFall said. "Our community athletic programs have benefited immensely from local support. Now the academic and fine arts programs will have a means to benefit from the same philanthropic spirit."

Already, the foundation held four area meetings this month, introducing itself to community members and parents.

It will primarily help finance extracurricular activities and innovative classroom projects that schools may not have been able to afford otherwise. Now corporations and individuals will have a way to contribute specifically to help cluster schools.

"We look forward to working with the educators of our community to further enhance the academic excellence of our students through these innovative projects and programs," said Steve Burnett, president of the foundation.

Any school within the Collins Hill cluster will be eligible to submit applications to the foundation for educational grants. The first round of applications are now available, with funds becoming available for the 2006-07 school year.

The seven schools in the cluster are J.G. Dyer Elementary School, McKendree Elementary School, Rock Springs Elementary School, K.E. Taylor Elementary School, Walnut Grove Elementary School, Creekland Middle School and Collins Hill High School.

Earlier this year, the Gwinnett Board of Education approved the creation of a systemwide foundation to help finance additional instructional programs and opportunities. The Gwinnett County Public Schools Foundation Inc. is expected to work independently from the smaller cluster foundations to appeal to large corporate donors.

To contribute to the Collins Hill Education Foundation, or for more information, visit its Web site at www.collinshilleducationfoundation.com.