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If you have been following the mascot issue, you know that financing the transition and the adoption of a new mascot has become a barrier to progress. The Teton School District Board of Trustees voted to retire the old mascot in 2019 and tasked committees and administrators to figure out how to respectfully handle the process. The committees met many times from October to January to develop the mechanisms to do this.

At the TSD401 Board meeting on February 10, there were many misnomers about the ability of the Education Foundation as to their ability and desire to oversee the fundraising aspect. While athletics are not one of our main priorities, our mission is to enhance public education by funding innovative programs and critical needs. This issue, in our eyes, has become a critical need to the healing of this community and for the school district to focus on more academic areas.

We are a separate 501(c)(3) nonprofit who works to support the district. We fund socio emotional programs, curriculum such as Spanish and Art, classroom grants to help teachers be innovative in the classroom, hearing and vision screenings, critical needs such as eyeglasses, hearing aids and clothing for students in need). We write grants, hold fundraisers and work with donors to help take learning beyond the classroom.

We are governed by a board of directors who have a passion for doing the right thing by our students, teachers and community members. This includes stepping in when needed in situations like this. The Education Foundation Board of Directors agreed many months ago to allow private funds to flow through our organization to support this mascot transition. They also agreed to support the Executive Director in applying for grants to help find outside funding.

We have had several donors already commit dollars to help with the transition and we welcome others who would like to do so. As I write this letter, we have raised just over $14,000 towards this cause. It is vital that we raise the remaining $31,000 prior to the March 9 school board meeting.

Donations will be taken online at https://www.tetoneducation.org/support-us.html . Please note that these funds are for the mascot transition.

Checks can be made payable to the Education Foundation of Teton Valley at PO Box 1111, Driggs ID 83422. Or cash donations can be dropped off at the Teton High School office for us. We are also able to handle stock and security donations through an account with Schwab. To arrange to do this, please email: ExecutiveDirector@TetonEducation.org

Our main concern is that we address this issue promptly, find the funding to remove the barriers and allow the Teton School District 401 Board to move forward with the pressing issues that affect the education of our children.

With great respect,

Pam Walker

Executive Director

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