Nearly 30 business groups are establishing a foundation to award grants and incentives to Anne Arundel County public schools for projects, computers, software, books and programs.
Called The 21st Century Education Foundation, the nonprofit organization has begun raising money and hopes to write its first check early next year, said Lawrence Ulvila Jr., membership chairman.
The foundation is the brainchild of Superintendent Carol S. Parham, other school officials and local businesses.
Teachers, administrators, students and PTA officers will be able to apply for the grants, which will be awarded quarterly. The money cannot go for administration or salaries -- it must go for classroom programs.
"Our eyes are big. We are hoping to have a budget that goes into the six figures," said Andrew Lombardo, foundation president.
So far, the foundation has about $8,000 and pledges for another $5,000.
It expects a gift-wrap booth at the Annapolis Mall to bring in $20,000, said Sherry Yaniga, coordinator for school-business partnerships.
Other fund-raising plans call for selling commemorative vehicle license plates and holding a plastic duck race.
Earlier this fall, Yaniga told wary PTA officials the foundation's fund-raising efforts would not conflict with PTA fund raisers, which are smaller and targeted to specific schools.
School board members have been kept informed of the creation of the foundation and received a briefing last week. Most seemed pleased.
But Joseph H. Foster, school board president, found the start of an independent school funding authority distressing, though he acknowledged a need to pump more money into schools.
"I don't think you should have to have private fund raising to support a public school system," Foster said.
Pub Date: 11/30/96