Methow Valley Public School Funding Alliance

History of Methow Valley Public School Funding Alliance

Our Mission: Public School Funding Alliance, through community donations, enriches the learning environment for all Methow Valley public school students so that every student has equal access to a high quality education.

In summer 2002, a group of parents and community members, concerned about state cuts in funding for our school district, began meeting to consider forming an organization to raise money to support Methow Valley’s public school students. Jana Mohr Lone had moved to the valley the previous year from Vashon Island and had been impressed with an organization there, Partners in Education, which raised funds through an annual fall campaign and then funded public school programs and materials through grant proposals submitted by teachers and other community members.

By early 2003, a founding board of directors was formed, and bylaws and other legal materials created for Public School Funding Alliance (PSFA). In March 2003, PSFA was certified as a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. The new organization was based on the belief that the community plays a vital role in ensuring high-quality education for children, even in a small, rural school district.

Liberty Bell High School students have been involved in PSFA from the beginning. Students Patrick Orme and Kimberly Williams created the PSFA logo in 2003. PSFA’s bylaws require a minimum of two high school student board members; PSFA’s founding board had six students, and there have always been at least three students on the board since.

Junior Class Close-Up Trip to Washington DC, Spring 2016. We have helped fund this trip every year since 2007.

PSFA Founding Board 2003-2004
Jana Mohr Lone, president
Sue Roberts, vice-president
Ann McCreary, secretary
Leslye Harrop, treasurer
Kelsey Bourne, Liberty Bell High School student
Andrew Bulmer, Liberty Bell High School student
Jennifer Duguay
Anne Eckmann
Debi Gates
Abigail McLane, Liberty Bell High School student
Lori Northcott
Hallie O’Reilly, Liberty Bell High School student
Ona Osin, Liberty Bell High School student
Katie Tucker, Liberty Bell High School student
Anne Joslin Webster

The first PSFA brochure, describing the organization’s mission and goals, was sent to all Methow box-holders in August 2003, and that fall board members and community volunteers called almost every name in the Methow Valley phone book to enlist support for the new organization. The goal was to raise $10,000, and in that first year the community donated just under $30,000.

Teachers and others submitted funding applications in the fall of that first year, and 25 were funded, including literacy materials for the primary school, books for high school classrooms, math and science programs for elementary students, Suzuki violin classes and music equipment for the school band program, field trips, the high school tutoring program, artist-in-residence programs, Classroom in Bloom schoolyard garden, and the high school oil painting program.

Since then, community members have donated $45,000 climbing to $106,000 each year to PSFA, totaling nearly a million dollars of funding in 15 years. Clearly, community members understand the value of quality education and the need to provide additional financial support to our public schools. The fantastic support of the community has allowed us to fund over 154 programs for students since 2003, including (to mention a few) a high school career college advisor, elementary school after-school enrichment programs, a counselor position at the elementary school, Advanced Placement classes at the high school, International Baccalaureate training for all teachers, elementary school violin and Spanish classes, Science Fair, Young Authors Conference, field trips, school tutors, and many other programs, as well as the purchase of thousands of new books for students of all grade levels.

For its first eight years, PSFA was an all-volunteer organization. In 2011, the board voted to hire its first executive director, Ann McCreary. In May of 2017, Ann stepped down as executive director, and Laurie Ulmer took her place. The board typically consists of 15 members, 3 of which are Liberty Bell High School juniors and seniors. Dozens of volunteers support PSFA each year in a variety of capacities, including serving on the board or on the Fundraising and Outreach Committees and assisting with administrative and financial tasks. Volunteers also have helped organize Trivia Night, PSFA’s annual April event for 5 years in the past, in which teams of community members competed to answer questions about a wide range of topics, culminating in a playoff against the high school’s Knowledge Bowl team. In June of 2018 PSFA hosted a celebration of 15 years of funding educational programming for Methow Valley public school students. This festive event was held at the Rockchuck Ranch, south of Twisp, and included informative tri-fold boards of programs currently funded, banners of past board members and programs funded, music by students who have received strings training from Pam Hunt, games, food and drink.

In summary, PSFA was created to enrich education for all Methow Valley public school students. As budget cuts at state and federal levels have continued to erode education funding, contributions from our community to enhance public education have become even more crucial. In the years ahead, we are confident that community support will ensure that students in Methow Valley public schools are well equipped to meet the challenges they will face in their adult lives.

Methow Valley PSFA