Building better schools

Posted: Sunday, March 25, 2007

A local construction company is launching a donation program designed to build better educations for children.

“Properly educating kids isn’t just good for them, it’s good for the whole community,” said Jason Bott, owner of A & J Construction in Sterling.

The goal of the new donation program is to help the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District offer children the high-quality education they need and deserve, according to Bott.

“Truth be told, we moved here from Oregon in large part because the schools there were suffering so bad,” he said.

However, Bott said some emerging patterns within the educational system here are all too familiar to him.

“Due to budget shortfalls, there’s been a lot of cutbacks to programs and for teachers, but I don’t think education is an area we should be making cuts in,” he said.

Wanting to, literally, put his money where his mouth is to make a difference, Bott came up with the idea for the donation program.

“The way it works is (A & J Construction) is willing to donate 10 percent of the total cost of labor on building projects for families with children — in kindergarten through 12th grade — attending a borough school, or if they don’t have kids in school and simply want to contribute, we’ll donate five percent of the total cost of labor on building projects,” he said.

Bott said all money will be earmarked to be spent only on materials directly tangible to students, such as books, computers and play equipment.

“This way nothing gets lost in the bureaucratic process,” he said.

Bott said this program will not only benefit the children directly, but also indirectly by freeing up money that would normally go toward these materials, so it can be spent on other needs within the school district.

“We would also like to challenge other businesses on the peninsula to respond in kind, to any degree they would like, because not only does every dollar count, but the more people that support this, the less everyone has to give,” he said.

“Hopefully, we can make some stuff happen for our kids,” he added.

For more information on this program, call A & J Construction at 260-3713 or Melody Douglas, chief financial officer for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, at 714-8874.

Joseph Robertia can be reached at joseph.robertia@peninsulaclarion.com.



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