We are starting up an educational foundation. Can we let them use our school office space? Our staff?

Many districts are making good use of an educational foundation to provide support, both financial and otherwise, for teachers and kids.  In fact, due to increased student enrollment, a rise in the number of students with special needs, and less money from the state, an educational foundation becomes almost a necessity.  The foundation and the school are united in a common mission, but it is important to keep them separate for legal and accounting purposes.

Public school resources can only be used for public educational purposes.  There are many non-profit and charitable organizations in your community that serve students or families and thereby benefit the overall mission of public education. But your board of trustees is required to make sure that public school resources—money, property and staff—are used only for the public schools and under the control of public school authority.

So it’s important to have a contract between your foundation and the school, setting out the parameters of the relationship.  If the foundation is allowed to use school office space, equipment, school logos, or have school staff perform some of its work, you will need to have a contract that expresses the public educational purpose for that. You will also need to maintain adequate controls.  The contract should be approved by board resolution, approving the arrangement with the foundation based on the board’s determination that it serves a proper public purpose.

We can help with this.  If you are thinking of starting up a foundation, or you have questions about your existing foundations, give us a call at Walsh Gallegos Trevino Russo & Kyle, P.C.