Julie Olsen. Courtesy photo.

SUSD board president named to foundation organizing committee

Saugus Union School District board President Julie Olsen was named to the organizing committee for the district’s unnamed education foundation, symbolizing another big step for the foundation.

Although all board members expressed their excitement about the foundation, a unanimous vote named Olsen due to her history with wanting to get the foundation off the ground. Olsen will be put on the committee in charge of outlining the parameters, mission and board members of the foundation.

“Typically, a foundation board has between seven to 13 board members,” Olsen said.

Olsen said the timing for the foundation had always been an issue.

“At the bottom of every agenda, it has the section we talk about at the very end, and the foundation had been there for a couple years,” said Olsen, who had earlier said she had been coming to the meetings before being elected and had seen it frequently.

“I think it first came on when there was the big recession, and there were concerns in the community about having to potentially reduce our staff, and parents were trying to find ways to raise funds and avoid that, but that’s not what a foundation is for,” Olsen said. “And then when I got onto the board, we had already passed Measure EE … and it would’ve been too much at once.”

Measure EE — passed by the district’s voters in November 2014 — was a $148 million bond measure to improve district facilities, and was not meant to be used for programs, according to district officials.

The SUSD foundation will likely focus on financially supporting 21st century learning through arts and innovative programs, according to officials.

SUSD officials have said more information about the foundation will become available in the coming months, and the meetings will begin in December. A major launch event for the foundation is scheduled for March of next year.

“It’s going to be great to work with the organizing committee and make sure it comes together for the benefit of (the district),” Olsen said. “I’m so excited and very grateful to my colleagues for putting their trust in me to do this.”

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