School Foundation Didn't — And Couldn't — Ask District to Loan Money for Tiger Trail
School board members said they had approved the foundation's proposal for the Tiger Trail two years ago, and it was understood then that the project would be funded solely through foundation dollars
Foundation members had pondered whether they would go to the school board and ask the board to approve a $30,000 loan to pay for Phase 1 of the project, pathway of engraved bricks leading into Clifford Stadium to be known as the Tiger Trail.
It turns out, the foundation couldn't ask for the loan because, on Feb. 28, 2011, the school board approved the project with the stipulation that it's all paid for through foundation funds.
"That information was clear: The board has already approved the project in the extend that it will do the bidding and ... everything it would have to do," said Barb Gunter, school board vice president. "When the foundation came to us two years ago with this you were going to pay for the whole thing yourself anyway."
"I appreciate that you came here and you're withdrawing your offer, but I'd like for the whole truth and the whole story to come out — that you're withdrawing the offer because you've been notified that it's already a done deal. The board's already approved their part. If you have the money, you can proceed."
Foundation Vice President Curtis Clemons told the board at its meeting Monday night that the request for a loan would have been poorly timed.
"We've heard your concerns about partnering with us during a time when we're coming up with a permanent improvement levy," Clemons said. "We will ask to withdraw that proposal to you, and we will carry out the project on our own."
Clemons said the foundation plans to release more information soon about the details of the group's fundraising plan. One thing's for sure, he said, and that's that there will be no question that the project is using private money and no school dollars.
The foundation hopes to generate about $100,000 in scholarships through the Tiger Trail.
The engraved brick sales help fund the project, and so far, the foundation has raised $40,000 of the $150,000 project. Phase 1 would cost around $70,000.
Clemons said the foundation will continue fundraising and still plans to stay on track with the project. Construction would begin in summer 2013.