Linda Lyon, president, Oracle School District Governing Board and John Tancock, board member, Oracle Schools Foundation
If you live in a certain 300 sq. mile area surrounding Oracle, SaddleBrooke Ranch, SaddleBrooke, Oracle, and Eagle Crest Ranch, the Oracle Elementary School District (OSD) is your school district. Established in 1905, OSD offers preschool through 8th grade in only one school, Mt. Vista Elementary. OSD is a political subdivision of the state, and its five elected governing board members are unpaid public officials who make policy and exercise fiduciary and strategic oversight of the district. They do not exercise operational control of the district, that is the job of the District Superintendent. Rather, they, as a board, provide direction to the superintendent and, by law, carry out other functions such as hiring and dismissing employees, adopting curriculum, establishing a school calendar, approving contracts, and adopting budgets. This budget is based on a per pupil amount, which includes funding for high school students residing in the district. This funding is passed to the other districts whose high schools these students attend. For this year, OSD has 413 students attending Mt. Vista Elementary and receives only fifty percent of the funding from the state for the 25 in kindergarten and none of the funding for the 50 students attending preschool.
This lack of state funding for early childhood education is what led a group of concerned citizens to establish the Oracle Schools Foundation in May 2015, as an IRS-approved 501(c)(3) non-profit. The OSF’s vision to “be a beacon of excellence in public education” and the mission to provide “financial and related support to ensure that every Oracle student has unlimited opportunity to succeed,” have guided their efforts. As of January 2020, the foundation had raised over $343,000 from a variety of generous donors, both individual and business. Many of these donations come in during the gala the Foundation has held every October or November for the past five years. This year’s gala is scheduled for Oct. 25. You can learn more about it at www.OracleSchoolsFoundation.com. Want to learn more about what this funding has allowed and will bring in the future? Please watch for more articles.
Donations to the Oracle School District should be sent to 2618 West El Paseo, Oracle, AZ 85623-6192. The Oracle Schools Foundation address is P.O. Box 8863, Tucson, AZ 85738. Donations to both of these organizations entirely are separate from the state’s tax credit program, which allows individuals to contribute $200 to any public school district and reduce their state tax bill by that same amount. These tax credit contributions must be made by April 15 of the year following the year for which they will be claimed.
Of course, there are other ways to help. Anyone interested in volunteering for the district can go to OSD2.org/volunteer to download a volunteer packet and get more information. Volunteers interested in supporting OSF’s efforts should email the foundation at [email protected] for more information.
OSD’s tagline is “Small Town Roots. Global Expectations.”
These global expectations are what both organizations and their supporters are working so hard for every one of “our” students to meet and exceed.