$2.3 million goal is the target to help pay for LOSD teachers

Money has been in short supply in Oregon schools, and the Lake Oswego School District Foundation hopes to help remedy that for Lake Oswego schools through its annual fundraising campaign.

To reach its $2.3 million goal, which is the same amount that the foundation raised last year, the foundation needs the equivalent of about $750 per student enrolled in Lake Oswego schools, said foundation president Kevin Robertson.

The $2.3 million goal is just one part of a larger strategy to fill a $5.5 million funding gap for the school district. Part of that will also come from savings from school closures, and last year the school district also received extra funding of specific programs from the city of Lake Oswego, though city councilors have said in the past that it was a one-time gift. Other strategic determinations have not yet been made.

'It's really become more important than ever that the foundation continue to be a huge and very strong support to the district so we can keep our teachers in the classroom,' said Mary Puskas, LOSD Foundation executive director.

At the annual foundation luncheon, which was held Wednes-day, the foundation leaders made 'a strong appeal again ... It's a really nice opportunity for people to give before we start calling,' said Puskas.

Last year, the foundation requested that donors make a pledge at the luncheon for the first time in the history of the event, and it brought in $65,000 in addition to the money made on the ticket sales.

This year, the luncheon sold out and filled the Lake Oswego Country Club to capacity with about 270 in attendance.

The luncheon, titled 'History in the making - educating our kids today for their bright futures,' kicked off the start of the annual campaign and featured speaker Kerry Tymchuk, executive director of the Oregon Historical Society.

Tymchuk, who is a four-time 'Jeopardy' champion, had a career in politics before assuming his role at the OHS in 2011.

His career included service as a Marion County deputy district attorney, legal counsel to U.S. Congressman Denny Smith, director of speech writing to U.S. Secretary of Labor Elizabeth Dole, director of speech writing and legal counsel to U.S. Sen. Bob Dole, and Oregon Chief of Staff to U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith.

Tymhcuk also co-authored with the Doles, as well as Oregon business icons Gert Boyle, Harry Merl and Al Reser in the writing of their books.

As always, the luncheon also featured a student speaker from Lakeridge High School and Lake Oswego High School and a raffle.

The foundation's next event will begin next week with the phone-a-thon. On Monday through Wednesday, volunteers will be calling community members from the district administration building and from March 5-8, volunteers will gather again at Lakeridge High School.

In March, the foundation will host an event for individuals who have donated more than $2,500 in the past. Individual schools will also host their own events.

Holding it all together, the marketing campaign this year will be sponsored by the Bank of Oswego, St. Honore's and the Lake Oswego Review. This year the marketing campaign, designed by Doug Fish, is themed 'Excellence has a price.'

'To maintain excellent schools in Lake Oswego we have to be in a private public parthership - to maintin low-class size, reading and math specialists at the elementaries and rich and diverse core electives and programs,' said Robertson.

As a part of the marketing, the foundation premiered a video at the luncheon.

'Also, we're going to have a billboard on I-5 between 217 and the Bridgeport exit,' said Robertson. 'That is definitely a first.'

In addition to the annual campaign, the foundation has a $1.6 million goal for the endowment fund, which was able to contriute $6,500 to the annual campaign last year. This year it may just be the largest single donor to the annual campaign with a little more than a $21,000 contribution, said Robertson.

At the luncheon, the foundation announced an anonymous $250,000 matching gift to the endowment fund.

Typically, donations to the endowment are future gifts, such as bequests, IRAs, life insurance or other aspects of estate planning.

'In order to look to the future and stabilize our funding, we need a large endowment that gives back every single year to the campaign,' said Robertson.

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