Photo by Jon Anderson.
Superintendent Kathy Murphy speaks at the launch of the Hoover+Ready initiative.
The Hoover City Schools Foundation has launched a new campaign to raise awareness about the Hoover school system and solicit funding and involvement by Hoover businesses, residents and alumni.
The campaign, called “Hoover+Ready,” is designed to re-energize the Hoover community so that Hoover schools can continue to provide an exceptional education in challenging economic times, said Janet Turner, executive director for the foundation.
The foundation will become more active in trying to tell the story of what is happening in Hoover schools, both the good and the bad, Turner said.
There are many successes to applaud, such as the facts that seven of the past 19 Alabama Teachers of the Year have come from Hoover City Schools and one out of three graduates from the system has taken a college course before graduation, Turner said.
However, “I think there’s a misperception that Hoover City Schools doesn’t need more money and has plenty of revenues, and the fact is that funding is getting cut every year,” she said.
The Hoover school board on Sept. 14 passed a 2016 budget that calls for expenditures to exceed revenues by $10.4 million – the latest in a string of deficit budgets.
“If we want our schools to continue to be great, we need all the community to step up,” Turner said.
The Hoover City Schools Foundation each year provides grants to teachers to help fund innovative projects and this July gave out $22,000 in grants, she said. Right now, each of the grants is limited to $2,000, she said.
“We want to be able to do much bigger projects,” she said.
There’s a need for Hoover businesses, foundations and residents to make donations. The foundation has created a new website – hoovercsf.org, which includes a place on the site to make donations, Turner said.
However, “it’s not all about the money,” she said. The foundation also wants to help forge more partnerships between the business community and schools to provide job shadowing and internship opportunities for students.
The foundation also will take a more active role in reaching out to Hoover alumni to engage their help.
Superintendent Kathy Murphy said the Hoover+Ready initiative falls in line with the school district’s goals of preparing students for college and careers and giving them a substantial education.
City Council President Jack Wright, who also attended the Hoover+Ready launch, said the school system certainly has its challenges right now.
“You’ve got to address a challenge to change, and you’ve got to change for the better,” Wright said.
The foundation’s efforts will be a good step toward that, he said.
“You eat the elephant one bite at a time,” he said.
Some people have suggested the city do something to increase its funding of the school system after making dramatic cuts in school funding in 2009.
Mayor Gary Ivey said he has no discussions with Murphy about changing the city’s allocation for schools, which has been set at $2 million a year since 2009. The school district has a very solid reserve right now, and the superintendent is very committed to bringing the school system’s budget in line, he said.
Wright said he is confident in school officials’ ability to deal with their budget issues. However, “the city and the schools are partners,” he said. “The future of our children and the success of our schools are critical for Hoover.”
Mike Anderson, a resident of Lake Cyrus with children at Bumpus Middle School and Hoover High School, came to the Hoover+Ready launch and said the initiative is a great idea.
“I don’t think there are a lot of people who know there is a Hoover City Schools Foundation,” Anderson said.
This is the first step in increasing awareness and getting the word out about needs in the system, he said.