Discovery Charter School officials are condensing a list of items to
purchase for the next school year and will launch a campaign in the fall
with a little help from the Porter County Community Foundation.
At the Discovery Board of Directors meeting on Wednesday, member Allan
Gabriele told his peers he met recently with associates from the Foundation
and feels there is real opportunity for collaboration on strategic planning
given the organization’s expertise.
“I think we have a potential partnership in the works,” he said.
The Foundation assists non-profits like the Discovery Charter School by
helping facilitate ways to provide long-lasting support by connecting those
organizations with donors interested in giving to their cause or by building
an endowment that can be a steady source of interest income while the
original funds remain untouched.
Gabriele said the Foundation is there to assist in professional development
and work with leaders on setting goals and strategies with the use of
The partnership would help Discovery connect with the community and
potential donors or investors, he said.
Gabriele is the board’s leader on Discovery’s Development Plan committee
which meets regularly to coordinate efforts between the school, parents and
community to create a plan to reach development goals. The committee, which
is made up of school administrators and parents, was created last summer.
Members will be speaking to the local Kiwanis group in the near future on
what the mission of Discovery is, Gabriele said.
The Foundation could also be a resource in the board’s search to fill its
open seat which has been vacant for a year. Board president Laurie Metz had
initially suggested finding a candidate with an environmental background
similar to the previous seat holder but she and her fellow board members now
feel that a candidate with the skills for networking and development may be
“I think if the right candidate came along, we would be looking to add
them,” Metz said.
Gabriele said the Foundation can give advice on how to build the board and
orientate new members.
Right now, the development committee is assisting in determining funding
priorities for the school for a fall campaign. As a beginning step, the
committee will publish a note in the first newsletter of the school year
telling the various items the school wishes to purchase with donations such
as new bulletin boards, books for the library and materials for the outdoor
Gabriele said donated items will provide some relief in the budget for other
funding priorities like professional development.
President of the Community Foundation Barb Young told the Tribune on
Thursday her organization does not directly give funding to public schools
but it can help non-profit groups that benefit the school districts, such as
the Duneland Education Foundation, raise money. Those who invest with the
Foundation are likely to see optimum investment returns and can choose from
a large pool of assets, Young said.
The Foundation also trains their partners how to look for grant
“We try to give them the support to do what they need to do,” Young said.
In other business, the board voted unanimously to approve a preliminary
budget for the 2013-14 school year.
Josh Samuelson, senior accountant for Discovery’s management company
American Quality Schools, said the Indiana Department of Education has not
released what will be the final total for this year’s basic charter school
grant but the information received so far indicates that the per-pupil
funding could be increased by 12 percent which is what the board had heard
at its previous meeting.
Samuelson said he expects to know the official figures from the DOE by July
As for all public schools, two student counts are made per year, one in
September which is generally the higher count over the second count which
takes place in January.
Discovery Director Ernesto Martinez said that the overall student attendance
for the 2012-13 year turned out to be the lowest it has ever been for the
school with an average of 94.4 percent. Discovery’s goal is an attendance
rate of 96 percent.
Martinez also announced registration dates for the upcoming school year have
been set for Tuesday, July 30 and Wednesday, July 31.