BOSSIER PARISH, La. – The Bossier Education Excellence Fund was established in 1985 by Foster Campbell, and on Tuesday, June 26 at 11 a.m. Campbell and Bossier Schools will host a news conference and issue a big announcement.
This year the fund has a $50 Million roll over, up from $500,000 when the fund first started 33 years ago. It is one of the largest ever amounts, and that will increase the amount of interest collected for school gain. Bossier Schools get hundreds of thousands of dollars, but it varies each year becasue of interest rates. But over the lifetime of B.E.E.F., Bossier Schools have collected more than $7 Million.
Edwin Edwards, who first donated to the fund, will be the guest speaker at the news conference.
The Bossier Education Excellence Fund benefits students directly. The interest from the money is used to fund new technology, buy classroom equipment, and enhance each child’s educational experience beyond just computers and tablets.
“We have tutorial labs for kids who are not doing well in school; if there are after school programs we can have that; we’ve had music labs; we’ve had science labs; we’re doing money in the classroom, money spent in the classroom,” said Campbell.
B.E.E.F. also has a committee that meets once a year, and they vote on how the money will be spent. Again, it could be used for software & technology, licenses agreements, after school programs, or to expand art education and music labs. Those are just a few examples.
“All the schools across the parish are not as wealthy as other schools,” said Campbell. “So we want to make sure their on a … that we do everything we can to level the playing field. That the kids at a rural school up in Plain Dealing has the same benefits as someone does in say Airline High School.”
Over the fund’s lifetime it has provided 100,000 hours of after school tutoring and 15,000 computers and chrome books.
Well there are some limitations when it comes to this education based funding. It cannot be used for for salaries, brick and mortar projects, nor athletics. It is a perpetual fund that is used for direct student advantage. Schools are also not allowed to spend the principal amount, only the interest accrued yearly.
Bossier parish was the first school district in the state to have a fund established that is dedicated to classroom enhancement. Originally, money from Louisiana Downs would be used as a resource for education, then it was expanded to casinos. It was a necessary move because districts have allocated money for salaries for example that are legally protected and can not be used to buy classroom equipment. The fund has been so beneficial that the beef fund was modeled to create a statewide educational excellence fund for each parish.
“When we got the tobacco settlement of $4B when the state sued the tobacco companies, I was able to take a billion dollars of that and spread it out to all the classes, all the schools, all the parishes, in Louisiana,” said Campbell.
Interest earnings from B.E.E.F. are distributed to public and even private schools each year for classroom instruction