By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter
Shrewsbury – Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Shrewsbury Education Foundation (SEF) has put nearly all of its operations on hold, including its major fundraisers – the annual Corporate Appeal and Trivia Night.
Now, for the coming school year, the Shrewsbury Education Foundation (SEF) will forge ahead with their grant program.
On Sept. 27, the SEF Board met and elected Christine Juetten and Kimberly Olsen as co-presidents. The board also decided at that meeting to keep the coming year’s activities simple with the focus on grants.
“It’s what’s at the core of our mission,” Juetten said. “We feel it is important to assess the needs among the teachers. …We can ask, ‘What do you need? How can we help you?’ I’ve already heard from some teachers who have asked if we are still going to do our grants this year.”
“It’s important that we carry on,” she said. “The teachers may need grant funding now more than ever. Regardless of the COVID situation there is still a deficit to the school budget every year so that alone makes it extremely important for us to continue doing this.”
Public school educators apply for funding for projects and initiatives that are outside the perennially tight confines of the public school’s budget. This year’s school budget was already reduced by about $1.9 million and almost 30 full-time equivalent positions were eliminated during a difficult budget process that was further affected by COVID-19.
The grants program is open to all school employees, including teachers, nurses, aides, curriculum coordinators and administrators. Grants will be accepted through Friday, Dec. 11. Applications and cover letters may be sent electronically to [email protected]. Funds will be dispersed in January 2021.
While the grants program will carry on, the SEF leadership has decided to hold off on designating a Community Service Award recipient as well as seeking nominations for the John P. Collins Awards for Excellence. Likewise, their annual Awards and Recognitions Dinner, typically held in January, will not be held.
The board hopes to host its Trivia Night sometime next spring, most likely in a virtual format, and they may hold their Annual Awards and Recognitions Dinner next fall. For more information, visit www.SEFgrants.org.