Frequently Asked Questions

What is a local education foundation?

Local Education Foundations began in the 1980s to mobilize public support for public schools. LEFs work independently from the school districts in which they are located and have their own staff and board of directors. But we work closely with the schools and anytime access to elite writings and other sources of support. We listen to teachers’ innovative ideas. We include top district administrators as ex-officio members of our Board of Directors. We try to be as responsive as possible to principals and administrators who seek to take a fresh approach to improve teaching and learning.

How are PEP’s board members selected?

Board members serve 3-year terms and are nominated to serve by current members. The Board has a Foundation Division which is tasked with the overall financial development of the organization, and the Operations Division, which is comprised of the Programs Committee and the Public Awareness & Events Committee.

Where does PEP get its funding?

Businesses, individuals and community organizations support PEP through gifts of their time and dollars. In addition, PEP writes grants to foundations and governmental agencies. These grants, when successful, often go directly to the schools, and occasionally PEP writes proposals to fund its own programs.

Why aren’t taxes paying for these programs?

Public Education Partners uses their dollars to provide funds where tax dollars don’t reach. Initiatives include high quality teacher training, programs that require students to take responsibility for their learning, and expansion and replication of successful programs that would not happen without the funding, coordination and encouragement that Public Education Partners provides. PEP’s dollars are flexible and expand the community’s involvement in public education.

How does PEP define its goals and what will be PEP’s focus in the years ahead?

The first strategic plan, begun in 1995, was given to PEP (then known as Greater Aiken Local Education Foundation) by the Aiken 20/20 strategic planning process for the City of Aiken. In 2000, the organization changed its name to Public Education Partners and began to serve the entire school district. A new strategic plan was developed by community volunteers, including business, faith, education, agencies, and concerned citizens. In 2004, the Strategic Plan Committee of the board of directors set new goals that guided PEP’s work for the next few years. The Board completed the 2006-2011 Strategic Plan called Every Kid, Every Day.

This strategic plan contained 5 areas of work:

  • Public Awareness – increasing public involvement in public schools
  • Students – supporting reading, science, math, technology, the arts and preparation for higher education and the workplace
  • Teachers – teacher recruitment and retention, teacher grants for innovation, teacher training and recognition of excellence
  • The Education System – encouraging the use of data as part of a learning organization
  • Facilities and Technology – supporting the District’s efforts to improve technology and attract resources for facilities

Currently PEP has a rolling three year strategic plan. To request a copy please e-mail [email protected].

How are PEP projects evaluated?

Each project is evaluated. Teacher grant applications include measurable goals and schools provide data to our board and staff on request. For larger projects, administrators are invited to make presentations to the Board on project outcomes.