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State of the Schools deadline nears

Are you curious about how your tax dollars are being used in Suffolk Public Schools?

Then make sure to register by Feb. 5 to attend the 2010 State of the Schools event later this month.

“The school division is everybody’s business,” said Bethanne Bradshaw, public information officer for SPS. “As a taxpayer, everyone owns a part of the system. All taxpayers should be interested. We hope they come out to hear about it.”

The Suffolk Education Foundation presents the program so that key school leaders can share the successes and challenges facing Suffolk Public Schools.

The free event will be held at 5 p.m. Feb. 25 at the Suffolk Center for the Cultural Arts Center.

“We want to bring attention to and focus on the challenges and successes of the school division,” Bradshaw said. “We hope people can learn more about the foundation, the new mentoring program, opportunities they can get involved with and learn about what we’re doing, what we want to do and what we’re struggling with. It’s good to know about your school.”

The presentation will feature a video annual report and showcase performances from each high school. The Starlight Strings, an ensemble composed of students from all high schools, will entertain guests in the lobby beginning at 4:30 p.m. During the 5 p.m. presentation, the Perfect Fifth, a male quintet from Lakeland High School, will perform, and during the 5:30 p.m. reception, a jazz instrumental ensemble from Nansemond River High School will be featured.

The 2010 State of the Schools reception is made possible by a sponsorship from Electronic Systems Inc., with support from the Suffolk Center for the Cultural Arts.

Incorporated in 1993, the Suffolk Education Foundation is a charitable organization established to enhance Suffolk Public Schools, through partnerships with the community. The Foundation receives financial support from school personnel, students, parents, businesses, trust funds, civic groups, churches; community-wide fund-raising events, and from retired citizens and other residents through memorial gifts and estates.

The Foundation provides scholarship assistance, funds classroom instructional grants, assists students with financial aid for dual-credit classes, and supports the division’s employee recognition program.

Through the years, the Suffolk Education Foundation has awarded $200,000 in college scholarships. The Class of 2010 will be eligible for $13,000 in scholarships. The Foundation manages the family endowments of Harry & Jean Cross, Ned & Helen Ferguson, G. Blair Harry, Gertrude Pruden and Ellis Temple Sr.

Close to $140,000 in classroom instructional grants has been awarded since the program’s inception, including $11,000 awarded during the 2009-10 school year. The Foundation also has provided close to $20,000 in tuition assistance with nearly $4,000 allocated for the current school year.

In 2008, the Foundation raised $7,000 to provide tornado relief for families of Suffolk Public Schools’ students and employees. Planning for the long-term, the Foundation also secures future programs with close to half a million dollars in investments.

To reserve your seat at the event, call 925-6752 or email RSVP@spsk12.net.