District OKs Community Outreach Initiatives

“Affton School Board President Mike McNeil said his predecessor, Ron Becher, would have been proud to see the district attain another of his objectives — increasing community outreach.

The board on Tuesday, May 23, voted to partner with a new community-based volunteer group, Affton Community Volunteer Organization, and appointed Pam Knox, wife of board member Larry Knox, to head to program.

Knox will serve in an unpaid, administrative capacity and the district will provide her with a work station and unspecified technical support.

Knox, who was instrumental in starting a volunteer program at Friendship Village Retirement Community in Sunset Hills, said she will work to identify opportunities for citizens to use their talents in various capacities within the district, including tutoring, mentoring and other activities. The program will also encourage students to volunteer in the community at large.

Knox said she has a number of ideas she plans to work on. “You haven’t seen anything yet,” she told the board.

On the recommendation of district social worker Dena Christ, the board approved formation of the Affton School District Family Fund, a pool of staff-donated resources earmarked for helping district families experiencing “acute crises.”

“The goal is to respond to these crises, as they can be a hindrance to academic success,” said Christ.

Once the program is up, running and funded, the fund will make up to $200 in assistance to families in the form of direct payments to utility companies, gasoline cards and grocery gift cards. The fund would not be large enough to help those who need help with medical expenses, according to Christ.

No taxpayer funds will be used to establish or maintain the fund. District staff will be given the opportunity to have donations deducted from their pay on a voluntary basis.

Board Vice President Doug Beck called the ASDFF “a fantastic idea.” Board Member Chris Castellanos agreed the idea has merit, but raised concerns about how the fund would be managed and who would make decisions about disbursements.

“I don’t want to kibosh this idea, but there are certain IRS guidelines that have to followed,” Castellanos said.

The board approved the ASDFF, but directed that no funds could be disbursed until a management mechanism and disbursement policy are formulated and approved.

Other News From Affton Schools

  • The board accepted a bid of $16,700 from Environmental Resources of St. Louis for removal of asbestos from a concrete ceiling near the pool at Affton High School;
  • The board accepted a bid of $19,019 from Bazan Painting of St. Louis for painting the high school gym.”

Read more: http://www.southcountytimes.com/Articles-i-2011-05-27-175347.114137-District-OKs-Community-Outreach-Initiatives.html#ixzz1ZkUFdjQs

Printed in the South County Times on May 27, 2011

Article by Joe Leicht

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