What is the Scarsdale Schools Education Foundation?

The Scarsdale Schools Education Foundation, SSEF, is a not-for-profit organization incorporated in 2012 for the purpose of supporting our schools and educational excellence in our community. SSEF raises funds to support innovative programs and facilities that are not funded through the Scarsdale School District’s own budget.

Why was SSEF Founded?

SSEF began as a Board of Education initiative. Following the recommendation of a multi-constituency Revenue Committee that was appointed in 2010, the Board of Education established a Steering Committee in June 2011 to consider the feasibility of launching an educational foundation. The Steering Committee’s report to the Board in December 2011 recommended the creation of a foundation to support “projects and activities deemed ‘endangered’ as a result of current economic conditions and/or would be valuable educational innovations that could not otherwise be supported through the regular budget process.” SSEF was incorporated in May 2012.

What is the purpose of SSEF?

The purpose of SSEF is to provide financial support for innovative programs and facilities above and beyond the District’s own budget. Specific areas that SSEF has identified are: 1) research & development/innovation, 2) technology, 3) physical infrastructure, and 4) student support.

What is the relationship of SSEF and the Board of Education?

SSEF is committed to a close working relationship with the Board of Education and District leadership to identify potential programs, services and/or facilities worthy of funding. The Board of Education has appointed a representative who serves as liaison to SSEF and attends board meetings. Potential projects are developed collaboratively and all projects that the SSEF decides to fund must be approved by the Board of Education at a public meeting before they are accepted by the District.

Will SSEF have an impact on the willingness of voters in the community to support school budgets and bond issues?

The fact is that even with a very strong fundraising effort, the potential funds available from the SSEF will be small in comparison to the total budget of the District, that proves the essential operating funds for the school system. SSEF’s funding will play an important role in supplementing and supporting new initiatives in a flexible and time sensitive manner.

What is the relationship of SSEF to other groups in our community?

SSEF’s focus will be on District-wide initiatives that benefit students throughout Scarsdale. The SSEF is not affiliated with the The Scarsdale Foundation, another community organization.

Who has contributed to SSEF, and how can others get involved?

A growing number of Scarsdale residents have contributed to SSEF through individual donations and the Paver Campaign. SSEF is very interested in input from the community and welcomes wider participation, through financial contributions and by offering ideas and suggestions to help shape priorities and consider innovative projects to fund. Please contact SSEF at scarsdaleschoolsedfoundation@gmail.com if you are interested in getting involved.

Do other public schools have foundations?

Yes, quite a few communities in Westchester County have education foundations and there are hundreds across the country.

Would it make a difference if the SSEF did not exist?

Scarsdale is very proud of the reputation of its school system and our schools are the reason many of us have chosen to live here. The excellence of the school system also helps maintain property values in Scarsdale. But Scarsdale schools are public schools, the size of the District’s annual budget is limited, state aid to the District is small by statute, and separate state regulation limits property tax increases. Our teachers, administrators, and Board of Education do a terrific job within the constraints of the budget. At the same time, they have innovative and exciting ideas to improve the educational experience of our students. What they need is a place to go for financial support outside of the District’s budget to help them implement those ideas and realize their vision — and this is where SSEF can play an important role.

As a community, we set very high standards for our schools, but we may not be able to achieve these goals through public funding alone. To provide our students with the best possible educational experience, SSEF seeks to support them by funding state-of-the art technology, a creative curriculum, quality teaching techniques, and an environment that allows students to benefit from innovative educational theories and practices.