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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of May 15 - 21, 2002


Education Foundation hands reins to new leaders

Express Staff Writer

The Blaine County Education Foundation, a private group that aids the public school district by raising money and making it available to students with specific needs, celebrated the services of two long-term officers last week.

At the Education Foundation of Blaine Countyís annual luncheon last week, outgoing president, Sandy Sanders, unveils a new banner thanking Atkinsonsí for their donation to the foundation. Outgoing vice chair, Louise Cooley, holds one end of the banner and a valley club employee holds the other end. Express photo by Dana DuGan

Sandy Sanders and Louise Cooley have been chair and vice-chair of the foundation for five and four years, respectively. At a Valley Club luncheon Thursday, they ended their profitable partnership and handed over the reins to Susan Jackson as chairperson, and Steve Thompson and Susan Rippon as vice-chairs.

"Louise and I have been somewhat joined at the hip for the past few years," Sanders said as he stepped down. Cooley and Sanders were given gifts from board members, and Sanders name will be added to a plaque hanging in the Blaine County School District office in Hailey.

This not-for-profit organization was formed by proactive parents in 1992. Created to enrich programs and enhance educational facilities within the school district, the Foundation relies on donations from individuals, businesses, and private and public foundations.

Historically, Blaine County has received less than 20 percent of its budget from the state. The other 80 percent of the school district's budget has come from local property taxes. Students not able to participate in regular school activities, such as sports and music, due to financial need are helped by the Foundationís involvement and generosity.

Since its inception it has helped ensure that there are state of the art computers, printers and software at all schools in the county. It has helped raise money for computer scanners, equipment for science and technology, musical instruments and equipment, audio system, art equipment and supplies, playground equipment, camcorders, televisions and VCRs, a microwave oven for Domestic Science, writing resources supplies, a Language Master machine and supplies for Special Services. It has also donated to a baseball and soccer field complex.

Three teachers were honored at the annual luncheon: Kathy Fieguth, the computer labs teacher at the Wood River Middle School; Anne Elmore, a second grade teacher in Bellevue, and Timmi Saviers, the Gifted and Talented Education teacher at the high school. They each received a monetary grant from the Foundation to continue the work they are doing.

Fieguth said that improvements to the middle school computer lab has helped to raise reading scores 10 to 20 percent in subsequent levels testing. Elmore and other second grade teachers participate in a literacy learning tree, and will use the funds to buy more reading books for the Bellevue Elementary School. Saviers, who was not present, sent a note saying that she would continue to "create a continuum of services to help gifted students."

Whit and Chip Atkinsons of the family-owned grocery stores in Ketchum and Hailey, were thanked for donating money to the Foundation from the Atkinsonsí Advantage Program. Sanders said the Advantage Program has been responsible for approximately $12,000 donated to the schools every year for the past seven years.

The Blaine County School Board, several teachers and other Foundation members were also in attendance at the lunch.

The Foundationís only fund-raiser "Young at Art," will be held May 24 through June 12 at the Sun Valley Center for the Arts in Ketchum. This is the second year that the foundation has hosted this community wide event that features art from all of the countyís schools.


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.