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'Honey Bee Gala' March 28 celebrates Perham schools-despite budget cuts

Though there is little glee in the state of public education funding these days, Perham will be making the best of it with a gala affair.

March 28 will be the 5th annual "Honey Bee Gala," which is a fundraiser for the 549 Family Foundation.

"An Investment in Youth" is the motto for the foundation. With more than $1 million in budget cuts either on the table or highly likely over the next 12 months, the Perham school district needs all the "investment" it can get--and not necessarily for the future, just to cling to what the district presently has.

The 549 Foundation has served as a funding source for those "extra" academic projects and programs. In the present school finance climate, the Foundation's role is evolving toward preservation of existing programs as much as providing funds for extra opportunities.

To date for 2008-2009, the Foundation has granted more than $12,000 for projects ranging from trips to Itasca and the Moorhead planetarium--to visits by artists.

The Foundation is also the financial clearinghouse for the "More Than Nothing" campaign, which is raising funds to try to shore up some programs that would be cut because of the failure of the levy referendum last fall.

"Consider that the Perham district has approximately 1,500 students, each with different talents, goals and strengths," stated Jo Strege, director of the 549 Family Foundation. "Consider now that each student is trying to seek out, explore, cultivate and develop their interests; and each student discovers them in different ways. The more programs and staff that are cut from the school budget, the more opportunities disappear from the palette of possibilities for our graduates."

The gala will include a silent auction, entertainment, a social at 5:30 p.m., dinner at 6:30 p.m., and a program at 7 p.m.

"Each year, we gather to celebrate our school, our youth and our community for their investment of time and the education it provides," stated Strege.

For ticket information and reservations to the gala, call 347-0549.

The Foundation has been in existence for eight years. This is the fifth year of the annual gala.