The communities of Ayer and Shirley have always believed that a strong public school system is essential, and in 2005 and 2007 respectively, each town had the foresight to create a non-profit organization dedicated to excellence in its schools. With regionalization in 2011, the combined Ayer Shirley Education Foundation (ASEF) was formed with a renewed commitment to its students, staff, and faculty. Today, with the unwavering support from parents, citizens, and businesses, the ASEF has awarded more than $350,000 in enrichment grants to our district. As a result, our students are benefiting from increased opportunities for growth and learning, and equally significant, are experiencing first-hand the importance of community pride and generosity.
Below are some of the questions we've commonly received concerning the Ayer Shirley Education Foundation.
The Ayer Shirley Education Foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit and tax exempt organization, founded in 2005 with the sole purpose of supporting our schools. Directed by a non-salaried board of community members, the Foundation raises money each year through donations from school families, community members, businesses, foundations, and alumni. These contributions fund grants that provide curriculum enhancements, cutting-edge technology, innovative programs, and other resources that are beyond the scope of public school funding. Collectively, these resources give our students an edge in an increasingly competitive world.
No. The Ayer Shirley Education Foundation is an independent, 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Our Board is comprised entirely of volunteers who are committed to encouraging philanthropic support of our schools.
The Ayer Shirley Education Foundation and the elementary school PTOs have distinct roles that complement one another. While PTOs continue to raise funds for the individual elementary schools with which they are associated, the Ayer Shirley Education Foundation’s mission is to support and enhance all schools in the District. The Ayer Shirley Education Foundation and PTOs collaborate to support the classroom grant programs that allow each teacher in the District to access money for approved projects.
The Ayer Shirley Regional School District budget is under constant pressure to cover mandated costs (salaries, facilities, employee benefits, insurance, etc.) and increasing enrollment, yet stay within the limits of the taxation system. As a result, many creative and meaningful programs cannot be funded. The Foundation helps fund the extras that create a truly outstanding school system. By encouraging teachers and administrators to develop new programs and creative approaches to teaching, and to incorporate new technologies and equipment in their classrooms, we provide incentives for teachers to stay on the cutting edge of their field, and to stay motivated and excited about teaching.
We all have a stake in ensuring the best education for our children. The quality of a school system is an integral part of any community's success. The school system affects property values, the attractiveness of the town for new business and industry and the general quality of life.
We all benefit from improved schools.
The Ayer Shirley Education Foundation Board of Directors, comprised of 20 community leaders, approves all expenditures from the Foundation. They are responsible for screening funding proposals and are the final arbiters in decisions regarding Foundation resources. All Foundation monies go directly back to the Ayer Shirley Regional School District. Operational costs for the Foundation are very low (less than 5 percent) as many expenses are underwritten by individual and business contributions.
At any time during the year, tax deductible donations of any amount may be made via credit card on this website or by sending a check payable to:
The Ayer Shirley Education Foundation
PO Box 502
Ayer, MA 01432
He who opens a school door, closes a prison. Victor Hugo
The Foundation is overseen by a Board of Directors whose members serve for three-year terms. The Foundation depends significantly on the generous support of its volunteer base for help with programs, events, and clerical assistance.