Relief fund goal set at $30K for Leverett Elementary School 

  • Leverett Elementary School FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 15, 2020

LEVERETT — Back before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the Leverett Education Foundation came into existence with a mission to enhance programs at the elementary school and preserve elements of instruction at risk of being lost to budget cuts.

While that purpose remains a long-term goal for the foundation, created by residents last fall in response to a town budget crisis putting pressure on school funding, organizers are now pivoting the foundation to support a new fund that will provide financial resources for the phased reopening of Leverett Elementary School, and the eventual return of children and teachers to the building and grounds.

The foundation, joined by the Leverett Parents-Teachers Organization, announced this week the establishment of the Many Safe Returns Fund and a goal of raising $30,000.

“There’s already a gap from the town’s financial situation, and the school has experienced tightened budgets over recent years,” said foundation President Steve Weiss.

Weiss, who had two children go through the school, said there are significant potential costs for the school to transition from the remote learning in place through Oct. 30. These costs can’t be covered in the existing budget, and the town has few avenues for seeking additional money.

The current phase-in plan, which will depend on low COVID-19 case counts, will have students learn in pods of no more than 10 children and spaced 6 feet apart, all wearing masks. The costs to implementing this include buying tents and heating and cooling them, hiring additional classroom staff that may be needed for the smaller pods of students, buying personal protective equipment and sanitizer, getting remote devices such as Chromebooks and laptops, and getting hand-washing stations.

The foundation has already consulted with the School Committee, interim Principal Annie Foley Ruiz, teachers and the school nurse to work closely to help achieve objectives for the schools, Weiss said.

“LEF was designed to educate people in town about the circumstances surrounding the school and to raise money for programs, instruction and curriculum,” Weiss said. “Now we’re collaborating with the Leverett PTO for this COVID relief.”

To make a donation, people can go to leveretteducationfoundation.org or send checks to P.O. Box 235, Leverett 01054.