LEEF may stay, Viper Nation may become a booster

By LYNETTE HAALAND, Four Points News

The Leander ISD board of trustees will be discussing a new way to handle the district’s goal of having one education foundation at next week’s board meeting. On April 4, the trustees will discuss and possibly take action on allowing the Viper National Education Foundation to become an academic booster club while Leander ISD Educational Excellence remains the district’s only education foundation.

“LISD administration supports the recommendation that will be presented to the board April 4,” stated Corey Ryan, LISD chief communications officer.

Leander ISD has been in the process of trying to create only one education foundation for the entire district instead of having two at the present time with the request for more to be created.

For the past decade, LEEF and VNEF have been the two education foundations. While LEEF raises money and gives grants to schools and teachers throughout the district, VNEF does the same but has a localized focus mainly serving the eight Vandegrift feeder pattern schools located in Four Points.

A new proposed plan of action was created by the district and circulated to the VNEF and LEEF boards on March 25.

The plan would shift VNEF from an education foundation to a booster club but the operations of the local organization would not change.

“While we would officially become a booster club as opposed to a foundation, the operations of Viper Nation will essentially remain the same,” said William Farrell, president of VNEF. “This is probably the best outcome we could have desired under the circumstances.”  

“This result will benefit all stakeholders within LISD in that it addresses any real or perceived inequities while continuing to allow parents, donors and sponsors to continue supporting the programs within their individual communities,” Farrell added.

LISD stated in last week’s Q&A response in Four Points News: In the fall of 2017, a group approached the administration regarding the formation of a third non-profit foundation to support schools in Cedar Park. That prompted the district to consider the implications of having two or more education foundations in LISD.

After reviewing best practices throughout the state and the nation, it became evident the district should move towards the creation of a single foundation, LISD stated.  

With the most recent developments of that goal and LISD’s latest proposed plan, LEEF will become the sole district-wide education foundation, and Viper Nation will become a booster club for Vandergrift and its feeder pattern.  

If this plan is approved by the LISD board, the Leander ISD administration “will work with Viper Nation representatives and other potential multi-campus academic booster club representatives to ensure equity across the district and to revise the ‘Booster Club Guidelines’ to accommodate multi-campus academic booster clubs.”  

LISD stated in the Q&A in the March 24 edition of Four Points News, booster clubs and PTAs are separate entities from Leander ISD, operating under their independent bylaws and leadership teams. Due to their relationship with our schools, LISD publishes booster club guidelines and PTA guidelines to adhere with fundraising, trademark licensing, and facility usage rules.

PTA organizations operate under guidelines and a charter established by the Texas PTA and the National PTA.

Education foundations serve multiple schools and are not activity based (like booster clubs). While the terms for the partnership are defined in the aforementioned guidelines for booster clubs and PTAs, LISD and foundations work together to define operational procedures through signed Memorandum of Understandings (MOUs), brought to the elected Board of Trustees for approval.

The administration does not have any plans to change booster club or PTA guidelines.

The plan would state that booster clubs would have to ensure that their funding priorities are aligned with the district and approved by the campus principals.  

If approved, this new plan is expected to go into effect no later than June 30.