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District Works With Community Foundation To Raise Funds

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Public-school students in Acton and Boxborough, Mass., will not have to pay a fee for their participation in extracurricular activities if an unusual and innovative fund-raising arrangement with the Permanent Charities Fund of Boston proves successful.

Robert E. Kessler, superintendent of the Acton elementary and Boxborough regional school district, said plans to establish the Acton and Boxborough Student Activities Foundation as a component of the Permanent Charities Fund have been approved by the school committee.

Pledges of Support

Pledges of support, he said, have already been received from some corporations in the community. He said early donations will be used as "seed money."

The foundation is the first cooperative venture of the sort undertaken by the Permanent Charities Fund of Boston with an area school system.

Mr. Kessler said the system had been investigating alternative funding sources for extra6curricular activities ever since Proposition 2, the statewide property-tax-limitation measure, went into effect this year.

Programs Threatened

He said student athletics and fine-arts programs were threatened by Proposition 2 because they are considered nonessential to basic education, and are the first to be cut in a financial crunch.

Mr. Kessler said the school district would have imposed the student-activity fees, however, rather than eliminate the programs.

The Permanent Charities Fund, according to Mr. Kessler, will manage contributions sent to a current operating fund or to an endowment fund in the name of the student activities foundation. Contributions are tax-deductible and the school district only pays an investment fee.

Guidelines Written

Although the school committee has given its approval for the venture and guidelines have been written, according to Geno A. Ballotti, director of the charities fund, there is still more legal paperwork to be completed.

Some advantages the school district will receive, according to Mr. Kessler, include "ideas on how to run a campaign, assistance on preparing brochures, and information on investment and accounting."

And since the fund will be managed by the Permanent Charities Fund, the school district will not have to seek tax-exempt status for the foundation from the Internal Revenue Service or file papers with the state.

"Positive Position"

"We have at our service, one of the longest standing and finest foundations in the country," Mr. Kessler said of the Permanent Charities Fund.

"It puts us in a positive position as a service activity so that other charitable organizations will know we're alive."

"As a community foundation, we are a public foundation and have more flexibility to do this sort of thing than private philanthrophic organizations," Mr. Ballotti said--S.G.F..

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